LIBERTY — Amite County school board trustee Jimmy Burns was only half joking when he mentioned that he once made a motion to bulldoze the high school gym, as were other trustees who suggested that the best solution for the problematic building was to “blow it up.”

But after voting to spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars Thursday night to fix issues with its “dead floor,” putting a wrecking ball to the structure might at least bring some catharsis.

Instead,  the district is spending $225,586 on the building to cover a change order to repair the floor plagued by age, humidity and botched previous repair attempts that have left it with spots where balls just won’t bounce.

Luigia Butler of Bailey Architects updated the board about the work.

“You all have a lot of dead spots on the gym floor,” she said.

Butler said previous attempts to repair the floor by nailing down new boards were discovered when workers sanding the floor noticed nailheads damaging their equipment.

She said a high moisture content from the gym’s crawlspace is contributing to the problem.

“When the temperature starts changing you’ll get moisture,” she said. “That causes more problems, so your floor starts sweating.”

She recommended installing a dehumidifier to help alleviate the problem for now.

Trustees agreed with that proposal and another, more expensive, one — to replace the whole floor — in a project that could take a couple of months to complete.

“In playing basketball … a lot of schools don’t like to go to districts that have dead floors,” Butler said.

“A few years ago, I voted for a bulldozer to push that thing down,” said Burns, who made the motion to spend the money on the gym repairs, as well as another $22,470 for site preparation for a new parking lot that’s being built outside of the central office building.

The total for both projects is $248,356.

The parking lot work included a $12,000 change order to alleviate drainage problems.

Trustees also approved the creation of a bank account for the fund for the project, and to transfer $1,998,000 — the projected total cost of both projects — into it. The funds are coming from 16th Section interest revenue.

In other business, trustees:

• Approved $500 in district funds to send football player James Smith to the All-American Bowl in Daytona Beach, Fla., in January.

• Noted the retirement of Sheila Wilkinson.

• Accepted the resignations of junior varsity girls assistant basketball coach Jessica Minor, high school teacher assistant Ronald Jackson and custodian Lamonte Brown.

• Hired Kristie Robinson as the JV girls basketball coach, Nicholas Wells as the JV boys basketball coach and Lorene Wilson as varsity girls assistant basketball coach.

• Hired Robert Otkins as a high school teacher assistant, Ocie Brown and Takia Wimberly as certified elementary school teachers, Vernessa Robinson as an elementary teacher assistant, Latarsha Flowers as a part-time janitorial employee.

• Voted 2-2 on a motion to the use of TempStaff services for janitorial personnel, with trustees Jimmy Burns and Diane Cook voting in favor, trustees Monica Johnson and Albert White opposing and trustee James Copeland absent. No action was taken as a result of the tie vote.

• Accepted lump sum timber sale bids from Good Hope Inc. for $143,950 and $318,950 to cut timber on two parcels of 16th Section land.

• Approved student transfer requests for Camden Todd and Trenton Ezell to move into school districts of their choice due to special circumstances.  • Approved the fiscal year 2019 federal programs plan.

• Approved the disposal of old equipment.

• Accepted a $500 donation from Trustmark National Bank for high school supplies.



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