Roughrider Coliseum start of construction still at least weeks away

Center ISD Board receives updates on bond construction projects

The start of construction on Roughrider Coliseum is still at least weeks away.

The district's multi-purpose event has been referred to as the centerpiece of Center ISD's $30 million bond project. At one point officials said they hoped construction would have started late in 2019 or very early this year.

Details and drawings of the project were originally unveiled this past October.

On Thursday's agenda for the monthly Center ISD Board of Trustees meeting was an item calling for consideration of approving a proposal for the venue.

“It is my understanding they're still working to finalize that proposal, is that correct?” Board President Matthew Mettauer asked Supt. Dr. Brian Morris.

“They are still working to finalize that,” Morris confirmed. Danny Berry, president of Rusk-based Berry and Clay Commercial Construction the district's construction management firm for bond projects, provided the board with brief updates on construction projects at F.L. Moffett, Center Middle School and with the coliseum project.

The projects were approved by district voters in the spring of 2018.

“As far as the coliseum, I'm thinking they're going to have the plans out to us a few weeks after we get the middle school bid,” Berry said. The next phase of the middle school project is scheduled to go out for bid next week.

“They're re-doing the changes that have been made right now,” he said of the event center.

When bids on the coliseum project were opened on Jan. 14 by Berry & Clay of Rusk, there were more than 200 bids on various elements of the project. Those bids came in higher than anticipated and have sent planners back to the drawing board to refine plans to get the project within budget, officials said early in the year.

Once started, construction is expected to take about 14 months on the coliseum.

According to previous announcements, the coliseum will be located fronting Roughrider Drive where a grove of pine trees now stands and will be connected to the wing of Center High School which houses the band hall.

Berry said architects are working on drawings to provide potential contractors.

David Golden, Lufkin-based architect on the project with McKinley-Golden Associates Architects and Engineers, said plans have been scaled back some.

“We're doing some last minute tweaks and quality control reviews,” Golden said at Thursday's meeting.

In October 2019, Center ISD officials unveiled details of the district's new 46,000-square-foot multi-purpose event center. At that time, then Superintendent Dr. James Hockenberry, said construction could start as soon as last December on the 2,200-person capacity facility with seating for 1,300.

Since January, when bids came in higher than anticipated, efforts have been going on the fine-tune plans to get the cost down.

At Moffett where construction of new classroom wings and renovation of existing space has been in progress for more than a year, Berry said construction and remodeling work continues.

“At Moffett, on the remodeling, we're still working diligently on that,” Berry said. “We're working right now with a big push to get the flooring done down the corridors …. we're doing the whole area at one time, it moves faster like that.”

For the remodeling portion of the project, Berry said contractors are confident the work will be done on schedule on the inside.

On the newly constructed classroom wings and gym work is running a little behind, hr said.

“By the time the teachers get here we're going to still lack some stuff on the outside. We don't think we'll be through with the gym inside, we'll still be working on it,” Berry said. He said it might take another couple of weeks to get the Moffett gym completed.

Upon completion of the FLM expansion and renovation, the district's planned grade level realignment will occur at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Moffett will include pre-kindergarten through second grade; Center Elementary will house grades 3-5; Center Intermediate will no longer exist; Center Middle School will remain serving grades 6-8; while Center High School will remain a ninth grade through 12th grade campus

The FLM expansion project includes approximately 50,000 square feet of new academic space with a new full-size gym, 6-bed nurse station, 30 classrooms, parking and driveways along with security improvements, officials said early in the project.

At the Center Middle School, construction work started in June and is underway with one old structure torn down and dirt work is underway.

“We're making pretty good progress there and we're going to bid the other part of that school next Thursday,” Berry said. He said a pre-bid meeting was held Thursday morning.

In other business at Thursday's board meeting, the board approved the district using the Texas Education Agency's Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, or T-TESS, for the upcoming school year.

“We use the T-TESS method we use for evaluating teachers,” Morris said. “Basically, you have a certain amount of time to meet with them, set goals, and have pre-meetings and do the evaluations and then at some point close to the end of the year you do a summative.”

During weeks one through six there will be an orientation and goal setting, he said.

“Week seven through the end of the year we'll start conducting the walk-throughs and evaluation conferences,” Morris said. A period is also set aside for teachers who might have been hired at the beginning of the school year.

There are also on-going reviews of teachers and student data, a review of plans and an assessment of progress, he said.

“The last 15 days prior to the last day of instruction, no later than April 30, we have our end-of-year reviews with the teachers and that's when they get their summative evaluations,” Morris said.

Also at the July 16 meeting, the board approved awarding a bid for transportation fuel for the 2020-2021 school year to R&D Distributing of Center, which submitted the lone bid. For both gasoline and diesel, the board approved a bid based on fuel cost plus 0.0450 cents per gallon.

Due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19/coronavirus, the meeting was conducted by videoconference. The open portion of the noon meeting lasted about 15 minutes before the board convened in closed executive session for about an hour and 15 minutes.

No action was taken after the executive session.

Video of the live streamed meeting can be viewed at:


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