School Officials Respond to Pisgah Construction Stoppage
SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) — The Jackson County Board of Education blamed the school superintendent for issues surrounding a construction stoppage at Pisgah High School.
Superintendent Ken Harding took responsibility for the problem, but called it a mistake with good intent.
The Alabama Building Commission sent the school system a stop work notice in June for construction at the Cooley Gymnasium, for violations of state rules and regulations.
The roof of the gym sustained damage in storms April 27, 2011.
Superintendent Harding made a recommendation to the Board of Education to declare an emergency work project for the gym, which they approved.
However, the school board said in a written statement it did not know the superintendent began to accept bids in November.
“Neither the Board nor the Board Attorney was thereafter consulted regarding any contracts for the work done on the Pisgah gym,” the statement said.
“The Board has not approved any contract for the repair or remodeling of the Pisgah gym.”
Work began in December and continued through March.
Harding responded in his own written statement.
“With the declaration of an emergency I thought work could begin on the project without complying with all the steps of the Bid Law or having it approved by the Building Commission,” Harding said.
The ABC requires advertisement of any public works project exceeding $50,000, along with the acceptance of sealed bids from contractors.
According to the ABC, the Jackson County Schools did not do that fulfill those requirements.
Superintendent Harding said competitive bids were taken for all aspects of this project.
“The spirit of the law was complied with in all respects even if the letter of the law was not,” he said.
“There was never any intent on my part to circumvent any rule or procedure. There was never any attempt on my part to hide anything from the Building Commission.”
The Board of Education said it will work with the Superintendent to ensure similar issues do not happen again.
“The Board believes that the Superintendent misinterpreted the Public Works Bid Law as a result of his failing to timely consult with the School Board Attorney on the matter.”
The school board hired an architect to submit plans to the building commission for review and approval.