Drainage problems, dispute halts Harmon Field project

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

A project to build new home side bleachers at Georgiana High School's Harmon Field is on hold because of drainage issues and a dispute with the contractor, according to Mike Looney, Superintendent of the Butler County School System.

Looney told school officials he had stopped payment on all work to the contractor, Zedot Construction, because after removing the existing concrete bleachers workers had taken up an additional layer of soil underneath without Looney's permission, something stipulated in the contract.

However, there are other problems, said Looney.

&#8220Water is seeping into the area and we can't dry it out,” he said. Officials said drainage problems at the field, as well as other existing facilities at Georgiana High School, has long been an issue.

Also, an addition to the home side stands was not placed on a foundation, said Looney.

&#8220It was placed on a concrete slab about six inches thick and is not stable,” he said. &#8220At this point, I think we need to bring the contractor and the architect back to the table and discuss our options.”

Looney said workers found trash, piping and other material in the soil they removed. The bleachers were constructed in. 1949.

The board will meet for a special work session at 6 p.m. on March 30 to discuss options.

In other business:

n The board heard from representatives with Colonial Bank, who told board members they had been able to secure an interest increase on all accounts of 4.9 percent. Looney said the increase would result in approximately $72,000 in additional funding for the school system.

n Matthew Shell, Technology Director for the school system, presented an update on a work order tracking system implemented by the board last January. Shell said local technology experts at the various schools have had a significant impact in resolving network and computer issues.

&#8220They can get there a lot faster than we can,” he said.

n Looney reported the school system had received a $100,000 Alabama Youth Workforce Development Grant to help combat the school system's dropout rate, one of only two grants given by the state.

n The board authorized Looney to re-bid for pest control services for the school system after the current contractor voluntarily terminated the contract.

n The board approved a Platinum level ($400 or up) sponsorship of this year's Achiever Award, recognizing outstanding students in Butler County's schools.

n The board approved the employment of Earnest Hill as a teacher at the Butler County Alternative School; Holli Vincent as school nurse at Greenville Elementary School; and accepted the resignation of Will Melton, custodian at R.L. Austin.

n Recognized Jacob Bedgood for his longtime service as a substitute bus driver.

n Recognized Ricky Burkett, the winner of this year's county-wide Spelling Bee.

n Recognized the McKenzie High School girl's basketball team and head coach Cindy Lowe for their outstanding season. The Lady Tigers finished the year 20-8, won the area title and advanced to the AHSAA Southwest Regionals for the first time in school history.

&#8220This group of ladies accomplished something that's never been done before,” said McKenzie Principal Randy Williams.