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DeSoto County School District Facilities and Physical Plant Director Jerry White details the progress of the different projects the district has undertaken during the summer at the Board of Education meeting Thursday afternoon.

All is about ready for the new school year to start on Monday, Aug. 6 in the DeSoto County School District (DCS).

Teachers and their assistants are ready. Administrators and staff are ready. In many cases, parents are ready for the new school year to begin. Children? Well, it depends on who you talk to.

But DCS Facilities and Physical Plant Director Jerry White told the Board of Education during Thursday afternoon’s meeting that construction projects the district has undertaken during the summer will be ready for the start of the 2018-19 school year Monday morning, even if some last-minute work has to be done during the weekend to make it happen.  

White has been updating the board during the summer on the progress of several district projects that involved classroom additions, new parking lots or overlay work, HVAC installations and other projects.

White gave the board his final update as part of Thursday’s regular session at the Hernando Central Services offices.  

During the summer, contractors have been involved in window replacement at Southaven Elementary School, HVAC retrofitting at Hernando Middle School and Hernando High School, renovation improvements at Olive Branch Intermediate School, a parking lot addition at Hernando High School, parking lot overlay work at DeSoto Central High School, and classroom additions at Center Hill Middle School, DeSoto Central Primary School, Pleasant Hill Elementary and Lewisburg Middle School.  

The classroom additions are for four new rooms each at Center Hill Middle, DeSoto Central Primary and Pleasant Hill Elementary School, while eight additional classrooms are being added at Lewisburg Middle School.

White said only caulking is needed to be done at Southaven Elementary School, otherwise the window replacement is completed.

The retrofit project at Hernando High School was planned to be just half completed this year, White said, with its entire completion pegged for next summer.  

The renovation work at Olive Branch Intermediate School is one White said he was especially pleased with.

“It’s a totally different school now,” White said. “You walk in there and you think you’re in a strange place if you knew what the school looked like before. This looks like a brand new school.”

While building a new parking lot at Hernando High School, White told board members dirt from the parking lot work is being used to address a drainage problem in that area.  

The classroom additions at Center Hill Middle School unknowingly resulted in a refund of some funds back to the district.

“We found out that is a TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) school,” White said. “We found out that TVA was offering an energy rebate, so we tried to apply for it. But, we found out Jerry Edwards of EK Automation was already certified. They did all of paperwork for us and did the application for us. TVA came and approved all of the energy saving equipment we had done and they’ll cut us a check for some $31,500 to us.”

Lewisburg Middle School, where eight classrooms were being added, is the one that may take weekend work to get fully completed.

“The floors were being waxed Thursday, furniture will be delivered Friday and we’ll be ready for school Monday morning,” White noted. “All projects for all purposes are complete and we’ll be ready for school at all of them Monday morning.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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