The Midlothian ISD School Board approved plans for lockers and fencing out of its owner's contingency fund for Midlothian Heritage High School on Tuesday, July 15.

Director of Athletics Steve Keasler presented the board with two options for lockers from Venus-based Longhorn Lockers for all MHHS athletes and coaches.

“In my research I found that the open-face lockers were a better option because they came be moved around and rearranged, whereas the closed-face lockers are set on concrete in place,” Keasler said, noting that the open-face lockers are or a more durable material too. He presented several scenarios for mainly two types, Conqueror and Hero.

The board voted 4-2 for Option A with Trustees Duke Burge and Cindy Williams in opposition. Option A provides top tier Hero lockers for the school's 53 coaches and Conqueror for all athletic lockers, excluding physical education lockers. The option touts a $55,000 total cost, which Burge noted was about 7 percent of the district's $833,000 owner contingency.

Keasler explained that the budgeted amount was set for traditional, closed-face lockers and presented those as an option. However, the lockers have a one-year warranty and are more susceptible to wear and tear than the plastic Conqueror and phenolic Hero lockers, which come with 25-year and lifetime warranties respectively. The standard lockers would have to be replaced in Phase 2 of the high school.

Trustee Todd Hemphill said he thought the district should plan for the future and purchase a product that will be sufficient for Phase 2, as well as Phase 1.

Superintendent Dr. Jerome Stewart revealed that the available owner's contingency funds will actually be about $25,000 less, at $805,000.

“In the spirit of transparency, the contingency fund will actually be less because we have already approved some counselor and other office expansions that Balfour Beatty suggested,” Stewart said.

Trustee Matt Sanders made the motion to approve Option A and Trustee Keith Hitt seconded the motion.

Before the board made its vote on the lockers, Burge asked that the district staff present options for fencing at MHHS as the owner's contingency fund would be tapped for that expense too.

Director of Construction Projects David Boswell and Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Katie Bowman presented wrought iron, chain link and a combination concrete and wrought iron options to the board. The board ultimately took no action on the item, because it was only an informational presentation. The trustees did direct the Boswell and Bowman to bring back the wrought iron and concrete option for approval at its next meeting.

Burge again expressed concern for this option because of the higher estimated cost ($140,000). He asked for Boswell's opinion on if the contingency fund would be enough for any unforeseen costs after these two expenditures (lockers and fencing). Boswell said he felt comfortable with it.

The board also discussed going out for a Request For Quotation (RFQ) for demographic services. Stewart prefaced the item by saying that Templeton Demographics “guess-timates” had been off in the past. However, he said that he would be concerned with a new firm starting out without being familiar with the district, and they would start off with the same past data that Templeton Demographics collected.

Burge said he was for seeking other possible demographic firms to serve the district for three reasons.

“First off they cost us $1.2 million due to their misestimates. Secondly, I think (Bob Templeton) has underestimated our population this year, which is just as bad as overestimating. Third, he never stood before us and said 'I made a mistake.' He never took responsibility for his mistake. In my opinion, we wouldn't be here with a second high school opening it for ninth grade only if we'd had correct estimates.”

President Wayne Shuffield said he agreed with Burge. The board voted unanimously to authorize the staff to put out an RFQ.

In other action, the board:

received a presentation for Balfour Beatty representatives on the progress of MHHS approved the wording “Midlothian Heritage High School” in stone above the library's entrance, choosing not to use “Library,” as other cost efficient signage would denote the library approved the purchase of replacement computers for the business communication, ag and engineering labs with 2006 bond funds approved Aug. 26 to host a joint meeting with the Midlothian City Council held a public hearing and approved Children's Internet Protection Act guidelines and district compliance received a bond refunding presentation, convened into executive session and voted to review and vote on the refinancing at its next meeting on Aug. 19 received a presentation from Organizational Health Inventory representative Dr. Jerry Cook and convened into executive session with no action taken in open session voted unanimously to create a district math coach position to aid teachers approved consent agenda items