Auditorium will get new seats

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 10, 2016

By Reid Posey

Lafayette County students will soon have comfier seats in their auditorium.

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During its regular meeting Thursday, the Lafayette County School Board voted to move forward with renovations to the school’s auditorium, accepting architect Rud Robinson’s recommendations to the Board.

The project will involve the removal of the existing seating and floor materials in the auditorium, replacing it with higher quality seating, cleaning the underlying concrete slab, and installing new floor materials.

Robinson presented the board with bids from five different contractor firms, including Barnes and Brower of Memphis, Roberts Builders from Ripley, Sullivan Enterprises of Magee, TDL Contractors of Olive Branch, and MS Construction from Pontotoc.

The bids consisted of a base bid, which covers all of the basic components of the proposed renovations, as well as add alternates that would increase the price of the project as the quality of material increases.

“The add alternates are merely an examination to see how much a higher quality of seat would cost, other than the basic seat that we have in the base bid,” Robinson explained.

Seating options

The seating option covered in the base bid is called the “Citation” seat from Irwin Seating Company, which consists of an upholstered seat and back with a metal frame that would be attached to the new flooring material by a screw.

The first add alternate option was identified by Robinson as the “Marquee” seat by Irwin, which he explained was a slightly higher quality seat with a better back and a decorative wood paneling underneath the seat when it flips up.

The second add alternate, according to Robinson, was an even higher quality of seat, along the lines of something you would see in a facility like the Ford Center at the University of Mississippi.

Robinson said that both the Citation and the Marquee are examples of seating that are typically found in a nice high school or community college auditorium setting.

Robinson recommended accepting the offer from Barnes and Brower, whose base bid amounted to $136,852. He also recommended that, provided the district had enough funds, they upgrade to the first add alternate option, the Marquee seating, for an additional $8,178.

“That is a lot of bang for the buck, so to speak, at a total of $145,030,” Robinson said.

District Superintendent Adam Pugh voiced his agreement with Robinson’s recommendations. He said that from the very first stages of planning with Robinson, they had the Marquee seats in mind. However, they constructed their base bids around the Citation model, only including the Marquee as an add alternate option, in order to see if they could get a more affordable price from the contractor firms for the Marquee seats under this plan.

Pugh also stressed the importance of the Board’s reaching a decision promptly on the matter.

“If we’re going to do this, which we need to do, we need to take action, so that (Robinson) can get the ball rolling on this,” Pugh said.

Some on the board questioned whether it would be better to keep their business in-state and hire one of the four Mississippi firms to tackle the project, which led others, including Robinson, to point out that Barnes and Brower ultimately gave the best price for the project.

The closest competing bid behind Barnes and Brower was Pontotoc’s MS Construction’s offer of $148,500 for the base bid plus the add alternate of the Marquee seating, which would cost almost $3,500 more than Barnes and Brower’s offer.

Ultimately, the board voted to move forward with Robinson’s recommended plan, with Barnes and Brower leading the project.

The next meeting of the Lafayette County School Board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 1.