A look at a new high school gymnasium project at the Houston School District.

Members of the Houston board of education heard last week that a major construction project on campus has progressed to the bid phase.

Bids are due Feb. 6 for a new high school gymnasium and related improvements that were approved by voters last April. The project, estimated at about $6.1 million, was OK’d by patrons in a no-tax increase measure.

The board is expected to review the bids as early as  Feb. 11. Gary Gentry of Gentry Construction Co. Inc. of Houston, which was hired as construction manager, told the board that the district’s architectural firm, Paragon Architecture of Springfield, has completed drawings and was finalizing  structural specifications.

The gym, which covers about 28,000 square feet, includes about 1,500 seats in the first phase. Additionally, two locker rooms with coaches offices, restrooms and showers, a training room, official’s office and a lobby with concessions and restrooms are also included.

The board also discussed implementing additional security measures at Houston Elementary School when gatherings are held for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and the end of the school year.

The board discussed options the district can implement using the current handbook policy.

“We want to allow parents to continue to participate, but put in some control measures,” said Dr. Allen Moss, superintendent. Parents, grandparents and/or guardians will be allowed. Each person will sign in, note the relationship to the child’s class attending and sign out when the party is over. Parties will start earlier and end earlier for everyone to leave before the normal general dismissal of students.

The school continues to review security measures and visitor registration used at other school districts in the area.

In other matters, members:

•Heard that work will begin at Tiger Stadium to remove some trees east of the track to accommodate the arrival of dirt from the gymnasium project. The process is part of a plan to upgrade the track, which hasn’t been in use for competition in recent years due to its condition. Moss said this would help in preparation and provide a little more space for truck traffic during the construction project. It also is hoped to save cost on the excavation of the gym site.

•Heard that a staff survey is underway that seeks the opinions of its workforce.

•Recognized December student of the month, Aiden Kelly,  and other nominees, Sophia Crites and Natalee Myrick.

•Watched as December student on the month nominees led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.  

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