SIKESTON -- Another piece was fit into the puzzle Tuesday as the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education approved the selection of architectural and engineering services at its regular meeting.
Although the district has not yet decided to move forward with a bond issue, it's taking steps to do so. Several years ago the district hired an educational consultant, Jerry McCall, and just last winter it hired a fiscal agent. Now it has an architectural firm in place.
"We're just now at the point of talking about a bond issue -- we have no idea when or what it will be," said board member Julie Crader Dolan, who is a member of the architectural and engineering services committee.
Comprised of Dolan, board member Rick Adams and board president Greg Colwick as well as the district's maintenance director Terry Bryant, the committee recently narrowed down the district's 12 proposals to three firms.
The committee then interviewed and took a tour of the educational facilities each firm had been involved in as it spent a day with each firm and asked questions. Then the committee met and ranked each firm.
The committee's final recommendation -- the Memphis, Tenn.-based Fleming and Associates -- was awarded the bid by the board Tuesday.
"They (Fleming) had the full package with the quality educational design, innovative design as well as the interior services," Dolan said. "They just had the full package."
Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller said the process has been a long one, but is not even close to being finished.
"It's just getting the pieces in place so that now the board of education will very soon say, 'OK. We are going to do -- whatever it may be -- and give a very clear direction to the architect and to Jerry (McCall) as of how we want to proceed and what we want to proceed on,'" Borgsmiller pointed out. Then in turn with that, the architectural firm will come into the district and use what McCall's developed to put together a districtwide conceptual plan.
McCall's proposal includes minor renovations to the middle school, major and new construction to the high school and new construction in regards to an elementary center concept, Borgsmiller said.
"We're at the point where we have to come to a decision on the designs and the cost estimates," Dolan said. "Ultimately, the goal is to have a final design to show to the public for the bond issue so we can say this is what we are proposing to do with this money."
The board's goal is to make a decision timely enough because the next available election for the timetable is April 5. This would require a decision be made soon to meet the January filing deadline, Borgsmiller said.
The decision the board will make will be what educationally makes sense for the district's children, Borgsmiller said. "A decision still has to be made by the board of whether or not we want to proceed (with a bond issue)," Borgsmiller noted. "We've got the pieces in place now so if the board chooses to proceed, we shall."
In other business Tuesday, the board awarded the athletic training services bid once again to Restart, which is associated with Missouri Delta Medical Center.
Cheryl White was appointed as assistant treasurer/payroll coordinator. School enrollment is down 22 students compared to this time last year, but Borgsmiller pointed out the last year the enrollment was higher than the 2000, 2001 and 2002 school years. Enrollment now is still higher than the previous years, he added.
The board also approved authorization to make the payment of $3,806.15 to support the efforts of the Committee for Educational Equality in its litigation to challenge the funding mechanism for public school districts in Missouri.
Last year the district paid quarterly assessments, and this year the payment is annual, Borgsmiller pointed out.
"Now I say that in the event should there be some unusual costs in regards to that legislation, that they may come back for additional assessment," Borgsmiller told the board. Information was also provided at the meeting that the district's secondary school's Nov. 2 and elementary school's Nov. 9 in-service dates were changed to Nov. 4 due to the availability of nationally known guest speaker Dr. Rita Pierson.