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PRC School Board hears report from NewPath Consultants on buildings audit

Warren Bowman of NewPath addresses the board on his findings

On Monday afternoon, the Pearl River County School Board heard an initial report from NewPath Strategy Consultant’s Warren Bowman. The district hired NewPath to perform an audit on the condition of the buildings on the elementary as well as the middle and high school campuses.

The report from NewPath, while preliminary, gave the board detailed information about what the current status of the buildings. Bowman opened his presentation of the findings by commending the district’s maintenance.

“Some of the buildings on your campuses have gone beyond their normal lifetime due to the great job of your maintenance personnel. I got to take my hat off to you whoever was managing it.”

Bowman said that safety is a major concern. A lot of the problems are due to ramps, sidewalks, and construction that could have been somewhat shoddy since the beginning.

As a whole, the biggest problem is drainage and if the district cannot control water flow, the foundations will fail and that has been the case at the Upper and Lower Elementary campus.

Water is not being moved away from the building due to grade elevation problems, roof design failure, and ineffective and deteriorating gutter systems. Bowman added that the air conditioning/heating cooling systems are working , but “they have had their life.”

Bowman shared pictures and videos of his investigation and found many subfloor systems to be failing. One particular finding was the floor in the Admin building at the Upper and Lower Elementary has failed. Bowman said he able to tear through the floor with his bare hands. Since this was discovered and already reported to the district leadership, the district has moved 13 employees from that building and relocated them to the library and building D.

Bowman took time to commend Myra Smith and the outstanding job that she is doing using the space available at the cafeteria. According to Bowman, “It’s almost impossible to do what she is doing with the space she has to work with in preparing and serving over eleven hundred students. I’ve traveled schools all over this state and I’ve never seen anything like it. It is pristine.”

PRC Board discusses information during NewPath report

Bowman stated that the cafeteria is overloaded and could create problems with fire codes and related issues. He recommends an expansion of the cafeteria on the front side to add more seating and a commons area which would then allow for the creation of more storage area.

When asked what he would consider the priorities based on his preliminary report and discovery, Bowman stated that the Admin building and expansion of the cafeteria. Next would be the auditorium / library building and building G.

Bowman reiterated the drainage problems have and will continue to damage the buildings because water is not leaving the campuses, but is saturating the areas around the buildings and going under the buildings.

On the high school and middle school campus, Bowman said the Safe Room has serious issue due the constant standing water around the structure. Superintendent Alan Lumpkin explain to Bowman that the Safe Room was built by the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, but the school is allowed to use the building.

Bowman again said that walkways have steep drop offs and many ramps are not ADA compliant. Bowman also added that the Vo-Tech needs serious work as erosion around the building is getting worse.

At the conclusion of the delivery of the report, Bowman said he and his NewPath team will now do more analysis using the data gathered and compiled for the report and assign each building a FCI score which stands for Facility Construction Index.

Bowman also recommended the district begin the process of applying for grants for those buildings that meet requirements to be on the historical archive lists for the state of Mississippi.


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