Less than a month ago, the Jackson-Madison County school system introduced a 45-day three-part plan for moving into furniture and equipment and starting school at the renovated Jackson Central-Merry High which is reopening as a 6-12 grade school and the new Madison Academic.
Even if construction is completed on time at these facilities – which have been negotiated and are expected to reopen in August – the school would not start until October but no earlier than September, according to the original 45-day transition plans created by the school system. . These plans indicated September dates only if CWY had priority over the delayed construction of Madison.
But after announcing these plans – which led the JMCSS leadership to deliberate on dates from September to late October – Superintendent Marlon King decided he wanted the students to be integrated into the renovated CWY sooner, because its completion was more advanced than that of Madison and makes it a building.
“I wanted to see the students come in earlier than the 45 days we’ve pushed back,” King said.
At the time of this announcement, leadership, in particular Assistant Superintendent Ricky Catlett who leads operations, said the 45 days was the least amount of time JMCSS would need to open these schools, which would require moving furniture – nearly a dozen semi-trailers – equipment, personal effects and materials education and to implement technology and utilities.
“It’s going to take us 45 days, working non-stop, to accomplish this task,” Catlett said on May 10, specifically noting the CWY’s over 132,000 square feet.
Each of the transition plans described this 45-day timeframe for getting everything into the buildings.
If construction was completed on time by July 31 for both projects, school at the new facilities could begin in October, according to a plan. If CWY is prioritized and finished first, school at CWY could start as early as September, with Madison’s opening remaining in October, the second alternative explained. If up to one month of construction delay From a March update and further delays from May 10 prevent the school system from entering buildings on or before that date, unknown dates characterized the third part of the transition plan, the eventuality addressed.
Following King’s concern and desire for an earlier opening, Catlett assured King that they would be able to accommodate students in the building sooner, according to King in Monday’s working session.
The drop dead date is now August 20th.
But no plan or timeline was presented on Monday, unlike last month’s elaborate timeline which included every activity, starting with staff training on the move until the last open house; Who is responsible; and the start and end dates of each activity.
August 20 always after the start date
This end of August date is still more than two weeks after the start of the 2021-22 JMCSS school year.
The Tennessee Department of Education is ready to work with JMCSS on the CWY schedule, King said.
Initial transition plans called for students in the JCM area to attend their current school until JCM reopens, while students at Madison Academic will use their current building.
The current Madison Academic is still standing and could temporarily house its students. CWY, on the other hand, is being renovated to its current location for a new student body, staff and administration. By early April, registrations had occupied around 700 places at the JCM in grades 6 to 12, closed since May 2016, as Madison Academic accepts hundreds of students from its random lottery. Last school year, Madison had over 400 students, but the capacity of the new school is 600 students.
Once the school opened, principals of JCM middle and high schools asked King for a gradual return to school and orientation for students and families.
This step-by-step process, which has not yet been shared, would allow more time to move the furniture, he said.
“We’re going to work hard,” King said of entering the building in late August. “We are firmly committed to working around the clock to do what we need to do to get into this building. We owe it to our families, and we owe it to our school system.
The schools are built as part of a public-private partnership between the county, which funds JCM; the city of Jackson which funds Madison Academic; the school board; Healthy Community, which secured new market tax credit funding from private entities; and the Community Redevelopment Agency, which covers the remaining costs.
Healthy Community oversees construction of projects through Crocker Construction; both companies are owned by Hal Crocker.
The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on material deliveries and labor, Crocker’s April update said, predicting future delays could continue.
For example, doors and hardware were to be shipped for both schools on June 9 – more than a month later than expected.
The challenges created by the pandemic that caused such significant delays and personnel issues as well as weather impacting construction resulted in a ‘month of delay’ in Madison
En route to Memphis, Madison’s elevator was in an Atlanta warehouse that was damaged by a tornado on May 3. Elevators in the warehouse were either ready to ship or being prepared for shipment, a letter from the supplier said.
Her condition was initially unknown until the supplier could safely access the building. The supplier found the elevator, which was undamaged and scheduled for delivery this week. The elevator isn’t the first delay in the past two months.
Delays in supply were the reason that the laying of bricks – masonry – did not start on time. Madison’s May 10 brickwork was about 20% complete with about a month of work remaining and was “nearing completion” on June 4, according to the construction update.
Due to the delays, Crocker Construction has prioritized JCM in some areas of construction, most recently with drywall and after moving part of the Madison team to JCM last month.
Because CWY is being renovated, the weather had no impact on the early phases of the project since the construction teams could work inside; However, the exterior of the building and the parking lots are weather sensitive elements of the project that need to be completed, Crocker’s updates said.
Since Madison is a new building, the weather conditions affected its construction the most.
Both projects are slated for final exterior grading – preparation for final landscaping – and asphalt paving preparation over the next two weeks which will depend on the weather.
Since June 4, the JCM:
- The store windows were finished, in addition to the material that is about to be shipped.
- The metal frame was finished
- The drywall and the painting behind that drywall was almost complete.
- Mechanical, plumbing, concrete, HVAC and electrical work continued with an increased need for electrical work outside the building. More electricians were added to the project because of this need.
- Four wings of the school will receive a finished floor covering
In Madison, starting June 4,
- Insulation and drywall continued on all floors
- Exterior concrete work, plumbing and electrical work continued
- The former dormitories on the University of Memphis-Lambuth campus, where Madison is being built, began to be demolished last week.
JMCSS has hoped for temporary occupancy, which allows the school system to occupy part of the building for something like moving furniture while construction crews continue to work in other parts. It is possible to obtain this permit for one school before obtaining it for the other.
Meetings between Crocker’s businesses and the state fire marshal’s office, which must authorize the occupation, indicate that there may be temporary occupancy for JMCSS to start moving in furniture by the 15th. July.
As Crocker maintained throughout construction, he and the development and construction companies pledged to “deliver the schools to the school district for classes in August.”
Impact of construction
Lasherica Thornton is the educational reporter for the Jackson Sun. Contact her at 731-343-9133 or by email at[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @LashericaT