Construction on the new Morrow High School is expected to begin this month.

JONESBORO — Construction is set to begin on the new Morrow High School and stadium next week.

On Monday, the Board of Education approved an $85.7 million bid from MEJA Construction Inc. to build the new facility.

The school will be built using Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI funds approved by voters in March 2019. The district began collecting the monies at the start of this year.

Last February, the community got its first look the 344,727 square-foot-building. With space for 2,000 students, the three-story building will include classrooms, administrative spaces, cafeteria, kitchen, media center, gym and auxiliary gym. Additionally, a 6,000-square-foot stadium will be fitted with artificial turf for football and soccer fields, an eight-lane track, video message board, press box, concessions, ticketing, locker rooms and storage.

According to Ronick Joseph, director of construction, six contractors submitted bids for the project. MEJA was the lowest bidder. The total expected cost is $96.2 million, which includes $4.7 million in architect fees, $1.5 million for furnishings and equipment and $4.2 million in contingencies.

Though the lowest bidding companies are typically awarded a project, board member Mark Christmas took issue with it.

“Why do we always go with the lowest bidder and then having to repair things like air conditioning and fixtures?” he asked.

Joseph said the contractors are local and they have a “vested interest to produce a good product.”

Christmas also referred to lengthy punch lists, a document created to provide a list of items that must be addressed or repaired before construction is complete.

Board member Mary Baker requested a list of companies from Joseph that “complete what they say they will.”

The new school will be built east of the new East Clayton Elementary School. Construction is slated to begin on Jan. 13 with a completion date of January 2022.

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