"The contractor is Tate General Contractor out of Jonesboro," Superintendent Ken Rich said. "The architect is Richard Werner and he's out of Springfield, Mo.," Rich said. Werner has worked on similar buildings in the past and knows all of Arkansas' standards for school buildings.
The cost of the building shouldn't put taxpayers out of any money. "We have a guaranteed maximum price of $955,761. It can't cost any more than that," Rich said. "That figures out to about $81.66 per square foot. That's a very good price. Of course the real advantage is it's only going to cost the Salem district $41.64 per square foot because we're using the federal stimulus money (the stabilization portion) for 49 percent of the project."
"I am very pleased and proud to say it (the building) won't cost the taxpayers in this district one extra penny," Rich said. "That money is in our building fund and that is a fund in which sometimes funds accumulate from carry over from the end of a school year, and we basically have saved money to make this purchase. We won't barrow any money. We have the money in our account."
"The building is not being built at the expense of anything else. We still have our regular funding to provide all of our academic programs, all our extracurricular programs, all our building maintenance. It (the account) was strictly made to be used for (the building)," Rich said. "We're not cutting anything as we build this building."
"The site work is complete, as far as setting the dirt, that's complete; the plumping has been roughed in and right now the concrete company is there preparing to do the footing," Rich said. "It's moving along. The completion date is scheduled for Aug. 1."
When the building is complete, it will have three functions. "It has an art room, music room and a physical education gym," Rich said.
The building will be 11,704 square feet when it is complete. "Both the art room and music room are 1,200 square feet a piece and they'll have the items the state requires to be in those classrooms. More sinks, shelving and those types of things. Then the gymnasium portion is around 7,100 square feet," Rich said. Each classroom will also have its own storage.
The building will be used for kindergarten through sixth grades. However, high school basketball players may be able to use the gym facilities after school hours for practice. In K-6, all students go through a rotation schedule where they have art, music and physical education every week.
The gym portion of the building will also have seating for up to 240 people. Rich said the school may utilize this seating for assemblies and awards programs.
The current facilities kindergarten through sixth grade use for art and music, Rich said, are too small, and the students have been using the school cafeteria for their physical education classes. "It (the cafeteria) is kind of a larger room, but still, it's a cafeteria. We'd have to put the tables up and down all day," Rich said. "It's not real conducive to some of the P.E. activities."
"We're looking foward to being in it," Rich said.