North gym

With a picture traditionally being worth 1,000 words, this photograph of the North Middle School gym clearly depicts why basketball games won’t be played there in November as initially planned. A more realistic target date for the North gym and the South gym, which is also in a similar unfinished state, to accommodate events is January 2020.

The North and South middle school gymnasium upgrades have become more involved than initially thought, meaning the boys and girls basketball teams from each school will not be able to play on their respective home courts for half of the season.

Director of Schools Stanley Bean said on Oct. 2 that plans were to initially have the upgrades completed this month before basketball season begins. However, one thing has led to another resulting in the completion date now being targeted for January 2020.

“At this point, that’s more of a realistic goal,” Bean said, adding that, in addition to the construction being more complex than initially thought, the projects must receive state Fire Marshal’s Office approval.

Bean said plans are to have practices at Townsend gym and at the school system’s elementary schools.

He also said that Franklin County High School has an alternate gym that usually isn’t being used after 6 p.m. He added that games could be played there during evenings when the facility is not being used.

“We’ve got a lot to work out, but we’re going to get through it,” Bean said, then referring to how traffic has been accommodated during the construction phases.

He said handling traffic has turned out to be smoother than initially thought, and accommodating the gymnasium construction will probably be similar.

“You can usually deal with something one time and get through it,” Bean said, adding that although there’s an inconvenience now with the gymnasiums, when they are completely upgraded, they should seem like entirely new facilities, and the wait to get them will be well worth it.

The North and South gymnasium upgrades are part of a combined $48 million in separate projects to build two new middle schools with a goal to have them completed by August 2020 so the facilities will be ready to accommodate students during the 2020-21 academic year.

North has an existing wing and a gym that are being upgraded, which comprised most of its alternate work totals.

Bids were submitted for 10 alternate projects at North and four at South to upgrade its gymnasium and make security upgrades.

The 50-plus-year-old classroom facilities are being replaced with new structures that are being built while students now attend classes in the old facilities.

When the new structures are put in use, the old facilities will be removed.

Robert S. Biscan & Co. from the city of Franklin was selected by the Board of Education to do the work at North while SouthLand Construction Inc. of Brentwood was awarded the contract for the South project.

Biscan turned in a $19.6 million base bid quote for North with another $658,000 in alternate work, setting its total at $20.258 million.

SouthLand turned in a $19.98 million quote for the base work at South, plus another $349,700 in alternate work, setting its total at $20.329 million.

Construction Adviser Gary Clardy said recently that although the low bids total $40.588, million, additional costs have been factored in.

He said the design fees added $1.8 million to the cost, plus $2 million has been budgeted for each school to provide technology upgrades.

Clardy said some leeway was also planned in case the contractors were to run into any issues with soil which could cost additional money to make corrective adjustments to.