Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sallisaw City Commissioners to Discuss Old Middle School

Sallisaw City Commissioners agreed Monday at their regular meeting to enter into a dialogue with Sallisaw Schools to determine the fate of the old middle school.

Scott Farmer, school superintendent, made the proposal to the city. "We want to simply start a conversation....to possibly re-purpose the building for the Boys and Girls Club." Farmer said the school board voted unanimously to support the Boys and Girls Club.

The Boys and Girls Club is currently in the old Sallisaw Post Office building on Elm Street, adjacent to the City Council Chambers and civic center, but club officials have long sought another site. The old middle school, on Main Street, is within walking distance and has two gyms. It was replaced in March when students moved into the new middle school on the high school campus.

But, one of the reasons the new middle school was built was due to the continued expensive maintenance of the old middle school building.

Farmer explained that the proposal included the middle school building itself, on the west side of Main Street, not the school facilities on the east side of Main Street. Farmer said the school system and Indian Capital Technology Center are working together on a plan for those buildings. They include the auditorium, cafeteria, and library, band room and science building.

Ward 2 Commissioner Jim Hudgens, throughout the meeting, reminded city officials that the city faces several large and expensive issues in the future, from relocating electric lines on the city's north side along U.S. Highway 59, for an Oklahoma Department of Transportation project, to an expected Department of Environmental Quality fine for an overflow at the sewage treatment plant during recent heavy rains. At the conclusion of the meeting the commissioners agreed to schedule study meetings to determine how to raise the money for the expected expenses.

The city commissioners also approved renovating the old Sallisaw Animal Shelter. City Manager Clayton Lucas, in agenda commentary, pointed out the old shelter, which had been condemned, could be repaired. Inspections by the state and a private engineering firm determined there were faults in the ceiling, which, according to the state, had to be repaired for the protection of employees. Engineers determined corrosion was causing parts of the ceiling to fall. Commissioners approved repairs, especially to the ceiling, not to exceed $15,000. The city commissioners have continued to put off approving a $125,000 new animal shelter.

Continuing cost savings, the commissioners approved amending the master fee schedule, which adjusts the fees to the cost of materials and other costs. Assistant City Manager Keith Skelton told the commissioners the increased fees were based on the costs to the city and were not making additional revenue.

During the Sallisaw Municipal Authority meeting, the commissioners approved a contract with Marble City to provide wireless Internet services, using a tower owned by Marble City. Skelton reported to the commissioners that the expansion would cost the city about $1,000 and about 40 customers could be picked up. If all goes well, Skelton said, it may be that the wireless Internet services could be expanded to other areas outside city limits. 

The commissioners denied a change order for $16,011.63 by Rossco Construction for the Sallisaw Sports Complex. The change order requested the additional amount for installing lighting at the sports complex. The change order, Skelton explained, was submitted by the electrical sub-contractor because the sub-contractor had run into more rock than anticipated, which required additional drilling and work. But Hudgens pointed out that the geo studies on the site noted there was additional rock below ground, and the contractor should have known that and included it in the bid. City Attorney John Robert Montgomery agreed, and recommended the change order not be paid. Based on that knowledge, the commissioners denied the change order.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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