Proceeds from the school district’s first sale of $5 million in bonds have been used as follows:
• Air conditioning of all school cafeterias. Previously scheduled for completion in the summer of 2008, the work has been completely finished a year early.
• Architect company selected and design schematics approved for ninth-grade facility submitted. Pryor & Morrow Architects, which has offices in Columbus and Tupelo, was chosen to oversee the project. According to Wile, the firm's work includes the redesign of the Marks Rothenberg building.
"One of the things the selection committee and the board liked about them was that they focused on how to make this building architecturally enhanced, but fit in with the high school – rather than design some 'state-of-the-art' that's going to look out of place," Wile said.
The design schematics are currently in the detailed design phase and are scheduled to go out for bid in early March, Wile said. They will then go into a construction documents phase, with plans for construction set to begin sometime in April and end in June 2009.
• Classroom renovations did not begin the summer of 2007 as hoped. Archer Architects will do the work, which is scheduled to begin the day after school ends and continue throughout the summer, Wile said.
• Meridian High School track and tennis court improvements. Local civil engineer Terrell Temple has been hired to improve the athletic facilities. Work on the tennis courts are scheduled to be completed by late spring 2008. A new track is scheduled to be ready for the opening of the 2008-09 school year.
• High school redesign. Progress is being made in redesigning MHS by developing small learning communities. All summer, teams of educators and citizens, with additional input from the community, worked to design small learning communities in Arts and Culture, Academic Excellence, Business and Technology, Health, Ninth Grade and Traditional Studies. The redesign program will begin in a start-up mode in the August 2008 school year.
Commenting on the significance of the passage of the $19.5 million school bond, Wile said it sets a plan for the future.
"This community has stood behind the school district with overwhelming support of the bond issue," he said. "The fun part will be as we continue down this path of implementation, and what it will do for the children of Meridian – and the community."