RUSK — The Rusk ISD school board is two decisions closer to constructing a high school gymnasium slated to cost between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.
Trustees unanimously voted to select Goodwin Lasiter, Inc. as the architect of the proposed gym at Monday night’s meeting.
They also passed a vote to hire a construction manager-at-risk when it came closer to construction time.
Both decisions were brought to a vote after more than an hour of listening to two architecture firms present information about their experiences and abilites to carry out Rusk’s gym project.
JML Architects of Jacksonville was the second firm competing for the job.
But when the decision came to a vote, Rusk Superintendent Dr. James Largent said he was impressed with Goodwin Lasiter’s recent experience building gymnasiums.
A representative from the firm said the company has built five or six gyms in the last three years.
School board trustees have yet to prepare an official “wish list” of details the gymnasium will have, but Largent said he hopes to begin collecting ideas from other districts’ gyms when he starts touring them next week.
In a separate agenda item, Rusk Athletic Director Wayne Mahaffey gave a report on the district’s athletic department. He said one of the largest challenges the athletic department faces is lack of space for the basketball program.
“Our current gym is just old,” said Lesa Jones, executive director of finance, drawing attention to the pullout bleachers and limited space for crowd seating.
“It’s impossible to get practice time,” Mahaffey said.
Largent said he expects the new gym to seat between 1,200 and 1,500. That’s about three times what the present gym seats, he said.
The district hopes to have the new gym ready by November 2008, in time for the ‘08-’09 basketball season, Ms. Jones said.
The vote to select an architect was a carryover from last month’s board meeting when Ms. Jones said no action was taken on the matter.
The district plans on funding the project with money from its building fund, she said.
Between Goodwin Lasiter’s two locations in Lufkin and College Station, a representative of the firm said it employs 60 employees, 50 of which are with the nearby Lufkin campus.
The firm said it has an advantage over others because of its in-house architecture and interior design, and mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing and surveying expertise.
Stephanie Jeter covers Cherokee, Rusk and Upshur Counties. She can be reached at 903.596.6267. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org