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E-SPLOST to fund HVAC, technology, kitchen updates

Pike County board of education members discussed the recent passage of the E-SPLOST continuation and briefly talked about how the funding will be used at their Tuesday, Nov. 14 meeting. ’This is a great testimony to the community’s trust in this board,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. The continuation of the E-SPLOST is anticipated to raise a total of $3.7 million for technology upgrades, HVAC upgrades, additional buses and kitchen equipment. ’A lot of these projects are front loaded because we need to get them done,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. ‘We are not bonding the entire max of E-SPLOST collections as we will be holding back $300,000 each year in 2019, 2020 and 2021 to allow us to address any unforeseen issues that the budget can’t support. That will give us a little less than $1 million and will provide a way for us to maintain any over-budget items and give us breathing room for needs and situations that are unforeseen. All of these are capital projects so we they will all have to go though a public, formal bidding process.’ Around $625,000 will upgrade technology at the schools, with $400,000 going toward the installation of fiber wiring and $225,000 going toward increased electronic storage space. More than $2 million will be required to replace the HVAC systems at the primary, elementary and high schools. The installations of the HVAC systems will take place over the summer months. ’At the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure these projects are done correctly,’ said board chairman Ryan Edge as he discussed the need for a maintenance contract for the HVAC systems. Six buses will be purchased – two at a time – in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for a total of $540,000. Around $100,000 will be used for the purchase of kitchen equipment at the schools, including oven replacements and other items used daily during the school year. Dr. Duncan noted that the bond referendum that was recently passed by voters only covered about half of the items hoped for due to the cost of stadium renovations.

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