PN-G multipurpose facility tabled again

Published 3:47 pm Saturday, July 18, 2015

GROVES — The brakes were placed once again on a plan to construct a multipurpose building on the Port Neches-Groves High School campus.
Trustees discussed the issue before tabling a budget amendment to transfer $690,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund for the facility during a recent meeting. The total includes money from private donors and the Athletic Booster Club, with the district pitching in $120,000.
The same issue — transferring money for the project — was also tabled at the May and June board meetings.
Superintendent Rodney Cavness told trustees he investigated the cost of a prefabricated building, which would need to be fully assembled, but did not offer the cost.
Trustee Melanie Miller also placed some calls to businesses that sell prefabricated buildings and found one — which she did not name, that came with a set of plans and a project manager for $40,000 less than the lowest figure provided at an earlier meeting.
But, Trustee Lana Parker said, there still wouldn’t be enough money available to build the proposed facility with current money.
Some of the school board members worry the donations would be lost if the project doesn’t move forward. Cavness explained the major donors just want to “make sure the district is on the ball with it.”
“But when you ask teachers to have fundraisers for their classrooms, then want to take money for a multipurpose building — you’re gonna have some mad teachers,” Parker said.
Ideas such as selling advertising on the backs of football tickets and on school buses were briefly discussed, but no decision made.
But when it was time to vote on transferring funds for the project, things changed a bit.
“We keep revisiting this month after month,” trustee Rodney Balsamo said. “I’m here to educate the kids, and the fact is we don’t have a plan to move forward. I can’t see allotting $120,000.”
Balsamo recalled an earlier meeting when the district said they would not allot any money toward the project. He gave kudos to Assistant Superintendent Mike Gonzales and Trustee Eric Sullivan, who made the advertising suggestions and repeated that when the project first went out for bid, all the bids were too high.
The district has pledged $120,000 toward the project already, he said, adding what’s next.
“Will be continue to add to the fund,” he said. “I’m not opposed to the project, but I think it’s a luxury, not a necessity. Both donors made it very clear they don’t want just a building, but that they want a state-of-the-art facility.”
Back in May, trustees with the school district voted to reject bids that ranged from $773,750 to $885,000.
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