The 2016-2017 year for the Arkadelphia Public Schools District began this week, bringing with it the first board meeting of the year also.

The 2016-2017 year for the Arkadelphia Public Schools District began this week, bringing with it the first board meeting of the year also.
With only two days into the year, there was not much new business to discuss, but the school board did hear updates on the impending building projects, amongst other things.
The top priority of the night was the district’s new buildings.
“We are very pleased with some of the progress in the last few weeks in terms of our building project,” said Superintendent Dr. Donnie Whitten.
It was recalled that at the last agenda meeting, updated drawings were presented to the board, showcasing the prospective elementary and middle schools. Good feedback was noted by those in attendance at the agenda meeting.
From there, the renderings were brought to district staff at the recent Back to School Breakfast. The drawings reportedly received a positive reaction during the event, as well.
“We met with all of the agencies last Friday,” said Whitten.
The meeting consisted of the project’s architects, engineers, the construction management company and the state facilities consultant. During the meeting, attempts were made to “really nail down a timeline”, an aspect noted by the superintendent to be the only thing that was really fluid.
“We’re trying to get everyone moving in the same direction on that,” Whitten explained. “It’s certainly a very complex process. We don’t have a lot of control over it because there are so many layers on the table.”
In the meantime, a new timeline is being put together. Whitten said that previously a window had been give between February and June as a start date. It is now speculated that the time will come in the latter portion.
“We’ve asked them to kind of go back and put together a different timeline based on where we are with our architect process,” Whitten said.
Of the architect aspect, Whitten said that the process is “a little bit more intensive” owing to the fact that two buildings are involved. Currently, the phase is at construction documenting, which focuses on every aspect of the work. The design piece has been completed and the construction phase is expected to be done some time this fall.
Apparently once the documents are finished, they go to the state and it usually takes around three months to receive approval. After that, they will be ready for bidding. The superintendent admitted that this process could be a little troublesome.
Furthermore, close work is being done between Nabholz Construction and the chamber to ensure area businesses are prepared for the impending bidding process.
“Hopefully soon we will have a new timeline.”
Discussion was also had on the effect of specifically when the building process would begin. Whitten explained that, if it was actually closer to February, then the district has a plan in place and they will be “ready to pull the trigger on it” for the transition of the Peake Elementary School students.
However, if it is indeed near May or June, then the students will be kept where they are now for the new school year.
“That’s where we are,” said Whitten, who further noted he would like to bring the professionals in so more questions can be addressed.
Also addressed Tuesday evening were financial statements, a school election update, food bids, a salary change report and other things. They will be discussed in an upcoming edition.