Debris at BMES

The debris from the January tornado at Brindlee Mountain Primary School still litters the grounds. Board member Joe Bunch, who lives at Union Grove, asked why it has taken so long to begin the cleanup.

Marshall County Board of Education member Joe Van Bunch, who lives at Union Grove, had a question for the other Board members. He wanted to know about why the cleanup at Brindlee Mountain Primary School has not started. The school was struck by a tornado in January. 

President Terry Kennamer said they were supposed to start the Monday after the board meeting but that turned out to not be the case. 

Supt. Cindy Wigley said she just received the contract back from the architect on that project this week. He is supposed to pick up the contract up and take it to the state to file it with state officials.

Once this has been filed and approved, work can start.

Bunch asked if they had to wait on the architect to tell them they could clean up a destroyed building. 

"Yes, sir, absolutely," Supt. Wigley said. "That is the Alabama state regulation. That is not Cindy Wigley's regulation, that is Alabama's regulation."

"I tell you what, that is a terrible mess out there," Bunch said. "It hasn't been mowed on the inside of the fence and there are whole trees still down on the ground. There is still tin all over the front yard. It look like somebody could at least go out there and pick it up."

Wigley said if someone does that and gets hurt, the school is responsible for that person. 

She went on to say she did not make the laws, but she is going to follow them. 

Bunch said he understands that she did not make the law, but he was under the impression that the clean-up would have already been underway. From what he understood, the contractor who bid on it should not have bid on it because he was not a certified contractor, but a general contractor. 

He said he thinks it should have been rebid. 

Wigley wanted to know why Bunch was just now questioning the board's decision. 

Bunch said Kennamer asked the question when and if it could be done. During that meeting, there was a lot of wet weather that had taken place, but that has not been the case lately.

Bunch said he remembers Kennamer saying it was concreted and paved all around so he did not understand why they could not start cleaning up then. 

He went on to say he believes that Wigley said once this was passed, she would pass on the information to the contractor. 

Wigley admitted that he was correct. She said she did say that and went to the architect. When she spoke to the architect, he told her about the other guidelines. She did not know about those guidelines at that time of the previous discussion.

Bunch apologized because he had not heard anything about the architect until the board meeting. 

Wigley went over the steps with the board members. She started with the date of the state of emergency, which was January 13. Joe Bunch made the motion and member Brian Naugher seconded to declare an emergency.

Once the state of emergency was declared, that allowed Supt. Wigley to speak with the architect. The architect developed the plans for the cleanup and once the plans are developed, it has to go to the State Building Commission. She said she could not send it to the Building Commission because she does not hold that authority or certification. 

After that, they solicit proposals. That is under the guidelines of the emergency declaration. That is exactly what they did. 

"It was on our web page and everyone in the world knew we were hit by a tornado. We had news media out there and we had several calls about it and several said they would submit a proposal, but when they received the packet, they did not complete the packet and turn it in," Supt. Wigley said. "We sat here in the front office and had one person show up that day to open the bid. So, we received one bid proposal. So when we opened that bid, we sent that to our architect. After that, that actual person works under a contractor for the general contractor license. He put down his regular license number on that first bid. Since we realized that he put his regular contractor license, not the general contractor's license, we had to bring it back before the board." 

Kennamer questioned if this was the only bid they received.

Wigley confirmed it was. 

Kennamer then said by law the Board had to go with them. 

Wigley said she brought this back to the board on April 25. All of the board members were present. Board member Tony Simmons made the motion and Naugher seconded. It was unanimously approved. 

She said she talked with their attorney and asked if they were in guidelines with state bid law. The lawyer said yes because it was the original bid and the cost did not go up. 

After they got back the job proposal, they received the construction contract from the architect on May 6. McKee is their architect who had the bid proposal. That was a construction proposal and it had the original cost of the bid proposal on there and a 30 day completion along with the other requirements in it. There was also a seal which Wigley pointed out could not be done by her. 

Wigley said the architect was picking up the paperwork and taking it to Montgomery. That will be taken to the Alabama Department of Education and supervisor Perry Taylor.

Wigley said if there were any other questions, Bunch should feel free to reach out to Taylor. 

It does not have to be approved specifically by Taylor, but it is approved by his department.

She said the work would not be be started this week.

Bunch asked if the work was not started becaus the architect requirement was not met because Wigley did not know that it was supposed to be that way which held off the work for a while. 

"No, no, no," Wigley said. "Our architect started out from the very beginning; on the day the Board approved the architect."

Wigley said she did not know to tell Bunch that at the last meeting. She did know that it had to go back and once it was approved. She did not realize that it had to go back to the state for approval. She admitted that was the part she was unaware of. 

Bunch said he appreciated Wigley giving him the update on the work. 

Wigley went on to say that everything that has been done has been approved by the board. She had not done anything that was not approved by the Board of Education. She said that she does not have the authority to do so. 

Bunch said he was under the impression that the work would have been done sooner. 

""What I said was, 'when will we start? Can we specify the date?' and without Dr. Wigley's knowledge she said 'they should start next week,'" Kennamer said. 

Wigley said the school cleanup is next on their list as far as projects for the person who won the bid.. 

Bunch asked how long they would have to get started. 

Wigley said they would have 30 days after the paper is signed by the state department. 

As of the meeting, it had been signed by Wigley but the state department had not signed. Once it is signed, Bunch has asked to be made aware of it so he could keep up with it. 

Wigley said there are 12 steps in the process and those steps are set up by the state legislature. 

After speaking with architect Seawell McKee,  he believes they will be able to start work sometime before the middle of June. He is not certain on the date and it is speculation especially with COVID-19 having many working from home.  

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