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OPSB approves $2.3 million for stadium at East Ouachita Middle



MONROE, La. – The Ouachita Parish School Board gave the green light this week to a $2.36-million project for the construction of a football stadium at East Ouachita Middle School.

Acting during a special-called meeting on Tuesday, the School Board awarded the project to Mann’s Construction, a West Monroe contractor.

“When we built the school originally, we didn’t have the money to build a stadium,” said School Board member Dabo Graves. “The kids are practicing at Ouachita Parish High School. That means we have to bus them to ball games and bus them back. We’ve always had the land, but with the bond issue, we’re building a new stadium.”

Of four companies competing for the project, Mann’s Construction submitted the lowest conforming bid, at $2,363,000.

“That is $163,000 over the budget,” said School Board member Harold McCoy.

Superintendent Don Coker confirmed the lowest bid was above the $2.2-million budget but noted Mann’s Construction’s base bid was more than $3 million. The School Board’s decision to accept two alternate proposals from Mann’s Construction reduced the project’s cost by eliminating features of the original project.

“We still will have room for 2,500 people on the home side, which is possibly too many. Instead of having a visitor’s side, we took that down,” Graves said. “We also took out the awnings to stay close to budget.”

School Board Vice President Greg Manley asked Rice Gregory, a West Monroe architect, when the contractor might begin work on the project. According to Gregory, the contractor would begin June 1 and take about 240 days to complete, resulting in completion near February 2022.

Graves explained the School Board called the special meeting to allow the contractor to take advantage of good weather during the summer for construction.

“We didn’t want to wait for the next School Board meeting and miss out on the summer,” he said.

Graves offered the motion awarding the bid, while Manley seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Meanwhile, Manley informed his colleagues the School Board recently began seeking bids for construction of a new Sterlington Middle School.

“We’ll open bids on June 22,” Manley said. “We’re hoping to move forward with that.”