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Sports facilities for two middle schools ordered on $5.25M bid
Dabbs Williams to build new LCMS and WJMS fields
Bulloch County Schools

Langston Chapel Middle School and William James Middle School will get matching sets of new outdoor athletic facilities, built by Dabbs Williams General Contractors for completion one year from now, under a $5,253,000 contract just approved by the Bulloch County Board of Education.

The board, during its meeting Thursday evening, unanimously awarded the Statesboro-based construction firm the project after its bid was the lowest among six opened June 10. Prices offered by the other five companies ranged from $5,726,000 to $7,575,000. The school system staff set aside an additional 10% for contingencies, or $525,300 based on Dabbs Williams’ bid, making the total construction budget $5,778,300.

Work should be underway soon, said Troy Brown, the school district’s assistant superintendent of business services.

“They will be starting in early July, so I’m anticipating within the next two weeks or so,” he said Monday.

A July 1, 2022, completion date is specified in the contract.

LCMS and WJMS, the grades 6-8 feeder schools to Statesboro High School, will each get the same selection of fields and supporting fixtures: a combination football and soccer field, a  baseball field, a separate softball field and a cluster of six tennis courts, all built to competition standards, plus a concession and restroom building, sidewalks and added parking.

But the layouts and some of the paving will be different to fit each campus.


WJMS loop road

At William James Middle School, the athletic fields will be positioned around the north end of the school. The plan includes a new loop road that, besides providing access to new parking areas near the athletic fields, is intended to relieve traffic congestion on school-day mornings and afternoons.

At student drop-off and pick-up times, a Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office deputy is usually assigned to help with traffic control on U.S. Highway 80 in front of WJMS. Brown referred to what occurs there as a “bottleneck” sometimes affecting traffic on the highway.

“So we believe that this new road that goes around behind the school will help alleviate some of those issues,” he said.


LCMS fields in back

Langston Chapel Middle’s athletics complex will be positioned behind the middle school and neighboring Langston Chapel Elementary School, just outside the two schools’ existing loop road. So no significant road construction is planned there, but the plan does include additional parking.

These projects are funded by the county’s Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or E-SPLOST.


What about SEBMS?

Originally, the set of projects now moving to construction also included a complex of fields and tennis courts for Southeast Bulloch Middle School. Initial bids were received in March 2020 for complexes at all three schools. But with only two companies bidding, the cost was higher than expected, and with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning, the school district declined both offers.

After introducing a proposal earlier this year to build a new Southeast Bulloch High School and move the SEB Middle School into the current high school building, Superintendent Charles Wilson announced in April that he would seek bids on just the LCMS and WJMS projects.

Then the board voted 6-2 in May to add the proposed new Southeast Bulloch High to its five-year facilities plan, in order to seek partial state funding for the construction.

“One of our next steps will be to decide what to do about the (Southeast Bulloch Middle School) athletics facilities,” Wilson said in a May 17 email. “In our updated plans, the middle school will inherit much, if not all of, the current high school facilities. That being said, we will need to come up with a short-term plan for SEBMS to serve their needs until the transition can occur.”

The school system has since taken steps to improve the condition of Southeast Bulloch Middle School’s existing practice fields, which include a dual-use baseball/softball field and dual-use football/soccer field, Brown reported Monday.

These steps include spending roughly $15,000 with one local company to haul clay to build up the infield of the baseball and softball field and also install an irrigation system for the outfield, and around $12,000 or $13,000 more with another vendor to install fencing for the backstop and dugouts.

Some “turf work” has also been done in the past month to build up low-lying areas of the football and soccer field, Brown said. The school system’s grounds crew is also applying chemicals to reduce weeds and promote growth of better grass on the fields, he said.

“It’s going to be a little while – I don’t know if that’s going to be two years or three years – until we have a new high school and before SEB Middle School transitions over to the current SEB High School, so for that few years there we wanted to bring those existing fields up to a higher level of practice field.”

SEB Middle School teams play competition baseball and softball on Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department fields and football on the SEB High School field.

At Portal Middle High School, a $1 million E-SPLOST-funded a set of support buildings for the athletic fields, including a concession stand and restrooms for spectators and a fieldhouse for football and baseball, was completed about four years ago.



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