At its first meeting since voters passed a millage for construction of new facilities at Central High School, the Helena-West Helena School Board formally appointed Lewis-Elliott Architects out of Little Rock as the architects for the project and the Baldwin and Shell Co. as the construction managers. The board also approved the expense for computer and security systems along with cafeteria furniture for the new Eliza Miller Building on the J. F. Wahl Elementary campus.

At its first meeting since voters passed a millage for construction of new facilities at Central High School, the Helena-West Helena School Board formally appointed Lewis-Elliott Architects out of Little Rock as the architects for the project and the Baldwin and Shell Co. as the construction managers. The board also approved the expense for computer and security systems along with cafeteria furniture for the new Eliza Miller Building on the J. F. Wahl Elementary campus.

The most significant order of business was the appointment of the architect and construction manager. Superintendent John Hoy noted how well the project had gone on the new elementary facility and noted the project had stayed within budget. He recommended continuing with the same architect and construction management firm for the high school project.

The Board voted unanimously to accept the superintendent’s recommendation. Board President Andrew Bagley was very supportive of the decision and excited to get the process started on the new facilities.

He said, “Mr. Lewis has a history with this district that spans most of his 56-year career and he is widely regarded as one of the best in the school construction business. Baldwin and Shell is a leader in construction management and their oversight of the new Eliza Miller Building project has been impeccable. Continuing the process we used on that facility should enhance public confidence in how this project is being done.

Bagley also noted that using a construction management firm insures that there can be no improper political influence in the awarding of contracts because the construction management team handles the bidding process and is responsible for making sure all contracts awarded go to firms qualified to do the work.

The board also approved the purchase of furniture for the cafeteria in the new building along with a change order for the computer networking and security systems installation on the new elementary facility, which will be dedicated on July 27.

In other business, the School Board also voted to formally change the name of J. F. Wahl Primary to J. F. Wahl Elementary beginning next year since it will house students through the sixth grade. It also approved the transfer of Becky Alexander to the position of principal of the Alternative Learning Environment for the 2017-18 school year and agreed to move back the start date of school to Aug. 7 for staff and Aug.t 14 for students due to the large amount of moving to be done this summer, which includes moving lower elementary grades to the new Eliza Miller Building, moving fourth through sixth graders to the current Wahl facility from the current Miller campus, and moving seventh through ninth graders to the current Miller campus from Central so that construction of the new high school facilities can begin.

The majority of the board felt that delaying its plan to start school one week earlier by a year was advisable so that the maintenance department would have time to complete all of these moves by the start of the next school year.