School Improvement Project Is Underway

Demolition of the covered drive-through entrance at the Water Valley High School was completed last week as part of the $6.5 million renovation underway for both schools in the district. The demolition of the awning at Davidson Elementary School is scheduled to start Friday or Monday, depending on the weather. The project includes new facades for both schools along with a lengthy list of improvements. – WVSD Photo

WATER VALLEY – Demolition has started on the entrance of the Water Valley High School and equipment is lined up to start taking down the canopy at Davidson Elementary School (DES) as soon as the weather breaks as part of a long-anticipated school improvement project to update the aging buildings. 

Years in the making, the project is funded by a $6.5 million bond that voters overwhelmingly approved during a referendum last March. In November, the Water Valley School District Board of Trustees awarded the contract to Ripley-based Roberts Builder’s Inc. to start the work.

The project includes a lengthy checklist at both campuses. At DES new windows and HVAC units will be installed in the classrooms in addition to work in the cafeteria and gym. The work also extends outside the elementary school campus as plans address drainage issues as well as resurfacing and repairing the parking area. Once completed, the work will allow an improved traffic flow when students are dropped off and picked up. Exterior work also includes facade improvements.

The list is shorter at the high school, as over $2 million has been invested in improvements during the last decade to replace windows and update heating and cooling units. The high school list includes a facade upgrade with a parapet wall that extends across the front of the buildings, security improvements, an expansion in the kitchen area and replacing the main cooler in the cafeteria. A new center entrance will be added as part of the driveway and parking lot repairs. A new roof will be installed at the high school gym.

School officials discussed the work during a brief board meeting Monday night.

“We are finally tearing up stuff, which means we can get it fixed,” Trustee Pierce Epes noted, adding that much of the work could be completed before the start of the 2020-21 school year in August if everything goes according to plan. 

Superintendent Jerry Williams reported that the contractors have been granted access to start working on the main office at the high school.

“We are giving them some things to do when the weather is bad,” the superintendent explained. He also said the project will inconvenience parents during drop-off and pickup while the work is underway. 

“After we get the new traffic flow patterns next year with the reconfigured driveways, it is going to be a lot safer. That is one of the main things, safety,” Epes noted about the work.

Other business discussed during the meeting included:

• Williams explained that the DES principal position for the upcoming school year is open for applicants. 

“We have received six applications so far, two really good candidates,” the superintendent noted. 

• Approved a request for the golf team to take a field trip to Alabama.

• Approved the calendar for the 2020-21 school year.

•Approved a request for disposal of assets. Williams reported the list included obsolete computers.

“We have a lot of cleaning up to do,” the superintendent added.

• Approved the minutes from January meeting.

• Entered executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

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