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Texarkana, Ark., School District's Board of Directors approved a bid for an update to the gym at North Heights Junior High during their regular meeting Tuesday.

They approved a bid of $12,275 from Charlie Williams for the work. Other bids were receive from Jack Yates Drywall for $12,750 and Bryan Powell Drywall for $14,850. Funding for the project will come from the $14.9 million National Magnet Schools of America grant the district received in 2017 to extend the technology thread from the elementary to the junior high and high school levels. Implementation of the grant is done through the Montage Project.

The board also tabled the sandblasting and painting of the awning at College Hill Sixth Grade Academy. The paint on the awning has deteriorated, and hand sanding is recommended for the project. The board voted to pull the item from the agenda to further review the sandblasting portion, as they were concerned about damage to the roof and the extent of the paint removal.

"We're trying to have a more permanent solution," Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Robin Hickerson said.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of 600 copies of "You Can Handle Them All," a book and study guide from The Master Teacher, which is a single source provider of the materials. They will also be paid for by the magnet grant.

They will now be ordered and will hopefully be in before school starts, Hickerson said.

The board also approved school improvement plans for eight campuses. Each has created a plan as required by federal Every Student Succeeds Act regulations. The plans will soon be published on the district website.

The board also approved the 2019-20 student and Redline handbooks and a contract with Shipp Outdoor for eight billboards advertising the Montage Project. The cost for six months is $2,500 per month and will be paid with magnet grant funds.

The board also heard a presentation from Clark Contractors on the Arkansas Middle School project. Danny Bennett told the board they are set to move in equipment on July 22 and that clearing should begin soon thereafter.

Superintendent Dr. Becky Kesler said they have set a tentative date of Aug. 16 for the groundbreaking.

Bennett said the school should be complete by Dec. 18, 2020.

Funds for the new school come from a $20 million bond restructure voters approved in October 2017. The plans include four wings, each with its own administrator and workroom. Each wing can also be locked down for security purposes.

The school will be built on a tract of land north of Interstate 30 between Jefferson Avenue and Crossroads Parkway.

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