Drake Middle School

A rendering showing the front of the planned Drake Middle School building that will face North Donahue Drive

The Auburn City Schools Board of Education approved the low bid of $19.8 million from Freeman & Associates Inc. for renovations to Drake Middle School at its meeting this week.

ACS received two bids within $49,000 of one another and selected the low bidder. While ACS had anticipated the project costing about $19 million, Freeman & Associates, located in Columbus, Georgia, will work with architects to identify any items on which the system could save money, said Tim Cantey of TCU Consulting Services.

Cantey also noted that site prep had already begun, and the demolition of the library had been completed.

Construction will include a redesigned entry drive, two-story classroom building, renovated media center, dining, music and art building as well as a softball field and play field. Construction will be completed in phases, and the school is slated to be open in August 2021.

The BOE also approved a four-year superintendent contract for Assistant Superintendent Cristen Herring, who was unanimously selected for the position on May 29. Herring's contract will begin July 1 and end June 30, 2023.

"We are truly blessed and extremely fortunate that she's a part of ACS, and it is going to be an honor to have her represent us as our ACS superintendent," said board member Terry Jenkins, who served on the Superintendent Search Committee.

Herring said she is humbled by the opportunity.

"With each promotion, with each opportunity, with each day I've worked in ACS, I've been incredibly humbled and very fortunate to work with a dedicated team of teachers, administrators and to serve our students and community," she said. "These are big shoes to fill, but I'm very excited about our future."

The board also approved a consulting contract with Superintendent Karen DeLano, permitting her to provide counseling to Herring for one year after DeLano's retirement. The contract has an option to be extended for a second year, if deemed necessary.

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