Nearly four months after being taken off, primary school renovations are back on the table.

In September, Madison County Supervisors approved a $65,000 appropriation for the school board to hire Grimm and Parker to develop a renovation for the Madison Primary School. That plan, presented in October, gave three options with the first solving basic issues, the second expanding on the first and the third including an addition. Preliminary price tags ranged from $11.15 million to $13.9 million.

School board members opted to support the third option which included two additional pre-kindergarten classrooms that could be used to create a full-day pre-kindergarten program. It’s currently half-day only. There was also talk that space could be used to house Head Start inside the building instead of in the trailers in which it currently resides.

However, supervisors weren’t convinced. In late November, they opted to note pursue the plan further, noting that it seemed rushed since it was originally proposed as having a June start date.

“I’m a big fan of doing the project, but rushing is probably not the most responsible thing to do,” board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson said at the time. “My recommendation is to push [this] off and put it through the budget process.”

Since then, the joint county and school board CIP committee evaluated if the project could be done in a phased approach. However, it was determined doing so would increase costs. Now, the project is back.

Monday, school board members opted to support the second option from Grimm and Parker’s original concept. It utilizes the school’s current footprint, built in 1973, but includes HVAC systems; power; lighting; fire alarms; security system; master clock; public address system; plumbing; ADA compliance; stud walls to replace the current walls which don’t reach the ceiling and contain no electrical; relocation of the main office, nurse clinic and instructional intervention rooms; configuration of a main thoroughfare connecting to all major spaces; restoration of central collaboration spaces in each grade-level pod; designated electrical rooms; seven classrooms per grade-level pod; a music room with direct stage access; a pre-kindergarten pod with two pre-kindergarten classrooms and two special education classrooms; and air conditioning in the kitchen. It’s expected to cost approximately $12.25 million to $12.9 million.

“I know cost is a big factor,” school board member Arthur Greene, Jr. said. “The reason why I was adamant about [the third option] was the history Madison County has with not touching buildings. However, I’ve been assured it won’t be another 40 years before we touch Madison Primary School. We can also customize [the second option] to look like [the third option] without the additional footage.”

Greene made a motion to revise his earlier decision and support option two, also known as Tier Two. The motion was seconded by board member Karen Allen and approved unanimously.

“Tier Two is exciting,” board chairman Barry Penn Hollar said.

Board members also unanimously approved a motion to request a $193,529 supplemental appropriation from county supervisors to fund the design development phase of the project. This will result in a completed design from Grimm and Parker as well as an updated cost estimate prepared by an independent cost estimator.

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