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Just Saying—a Report



Thanks to Joanna Maddox of the Simpson County School District office, I was given the report below concerning the placement of the new Magee Elementary School.


I’m just saying…I don’t quite understand the process of obtaining material from the School Board and School Superintendent, but it looks as if all I needed to do was “ask.”


I apologize for not asking…but when you don’t know the info is available it makes it hard for me to ask.


Joanna assured me all information is available for the public to view. Those people may get tired of me! Ha


The information posted has been available for two months. The attached drawing of the school has been available for over a year. Please understand the drawing of the school is NOT a definite plan…but one that has been under consideration for over a year. The plan does show an area for modular classrooms. (I am to receive pictures of the modular classroom). The broken lines indicate a “wing” that will not be built until additional funds are secured…at that time, the modular classrooms will be removed and students will be moved into the new wing. The plan looks great…and is made to accompany 1000 students. (room for growth). This much I do know, our county administration would like to build the entire building at one time, but funds are just not available. Let’s not throw stones…let’s pray as we move forward.


The “info” sheet is exactly how I received the info. Just saying, looks like to me there is no choice but Chris Lane’s land …why all the decision…just saying!


The article is long but well worth the read


Project Progress Report

For Simpson County School District

Prepared by: Lynn Greer, Landry and Lewis Architects


CN-3468-New K-4 Elementary School for LLC



Landry and Lewis Architects has been in the process of helping to evaluate potential new construction sites for this new elementary facility. In the last two years we have visited and seriously researched 5 sites with the help of the school district and Landmark Surveying L.L.C. Site research included site location/access, site cost (if purchasing), site utilities on/or available to site, topographical surveys for grading and preliminary environmental issues such as wetlands, flood plains, excessive power grids and the minimum acreage required by the State Department of Education.


Site 1


16th Section southwest of Magee, off Baldwin Road—Acreage met, but no utilities (power, water or sewer) readily available, gas easement in the heart of the buildable site, insufficient roadway, and extreme topographical changes to overcome. USG mapping indicated active streams, which would lead to costly wetlands migration.


Site 2


Acreage northwest of Magee, within City Limits, owned by Simpson County Development Foundation—Utilities readily available and site clear for construction, but access roadway would have to be rebuilt and resurfaced, the topography would be challenging, but not beyond reason. USG mapping indicated no issues for wetland mitigation considerations. But ultimately negotiations for the property had constraints that were not readily acceptable to the SCSD.


Site 3


Acreage northwest of Magee within City Limits, on Goodwater Road—Acreage requirements easily met, utilities immediately available and site clear for construction. Adjoining roadways were more than adequate and existing exposed soils appear to be ideal for construction. The topographical changes on that site were somewhat challenging but with the apparent good construction material, the site would offer good prospects for a “cut and fill” using the existing material and not requiring “borrowed” (purchased) material therefore more cost effective. USG mapping indicated no issues for wetlands mitigation considerations. This site does have neighboring overhead power transmission lines and the property abuts to an active railroad easement. These factors were reviewed by MDE for any potential restriction for this site and there were none.


Site 4


This site is within the City Limits and near the existing high school—Utilities readily available and site clear for construction, but MDE acreage requirements not met. In addition, it is a parcel that is currently used as the HS practice field and track. It is in the heart of the middle school and high school facilities and offers the only area for growth for either of those schools in the future. To construct there would require the existing functions be moved to another location and there is none readily available adjacent to the existing campus. Another concern is the traffic issues caused by an entire new school in that area. With the limited site size, and access, there would be no “stack” area off 5th Avenue potentially causing traffic and safety issues for all three campuses.


Site 5


16th Section due south but not within City limits of Magee, off north bound US Hwy 49. Acreage met, but no utilities (power, water, or sewer) readily available. The City of Magee has a sewer lagoon due north of this site and it would seem feasible to be able to work with the City to access that lagoon for sewer. The property is mostly high and offers what would seem to be ideal soils for construction “cut and fill.” USG mapping indicated no concerns for the site itself, but would impact costs to get water, sewer and possible power to the site. Three “streams” were identified from the southern city limits to the site, which would have to be mitigated for wetlands according to federal laws. The City of Magee did a feasibility study to assess preliminary costs of getting the needed utilities to the site and the cost was in excess of $690,000,00. This cost was then discussed between all parties and negotiated to an estimated $550,000,00. This information gave cause to pursue other sites.


So in summary, 2 or the 5 sites reviewed were on 16th section property which would save the purchase costs, but neither of could readily support the utilities required for a school without extraordinary costs. 3 of the sites did not meet/or barely met the State Department’s minimum acreage of 13 acres and had topographical and or access limitations. Only 1 of 5 sites researched met most of the criteria for cost, State Department of Education site requirements, public access and circulation, the required utilities and overall the most effective.


The property on Goodwater Road north of Magee is the only site found to have the following:


Existing accessible Road access/egress


High elevations and not in danger of being in a flood plain


Utilities readily available ($550,000.00 Cost savings to SCSD)

Water Tower with 8” main in along Goodwater Road in front of property

Sewer Main readily accessible

Major Storm Drain connection to site

Power sub-station in front of site


Meets State Department regulations for:

Size calculation (13 acre minimum-5 Acres min. plus 1 acre/100 students)

Clearance met for Major Power Grid and Railroad easements, etc


Site is cleared of all trees and debris (cost saving) and looks to have high-grade clay gravel for building and road foundations. (A good candidate for “cut and fill” with materials on site and not purchased. (Cost saving to SCSD) Note: All 6 sites reviewed would require dirt work to create a flat pad for a school of this size for both buildings and circulation drives. As is typical of all construction projects, the cost this work is considered and included in the overall construction cost estimates provided and would not be an “out-of-pocket” additional expense.


This site looks to meet the Federal requirements to be free of Wetlands, Endangered Species, and free of previous hazardous contamination. Preliminary Studies are being done at this time to finally determine that criteria.


The SCSD Board of Education was presented that site and the board approved to move forward with the purchase contingent these more stringent site investigations.




As required, we have engaged with the following consultants to provide the following investigations:


Environmental Management Services, INC. for Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment


Wetland Consulting Services, Inc. for Wetland Delineation, Endangered Species & Archeological Survey


Burns, Cooley, Dennis Inc. for Geotechnical Services


Schematic designs have been produced with the SCSD to develop cost estimates for the construction of this K-4 school. (Plans will be adapted to the site once all investigations are completed and the site is approved to move forward)



With the limited funds available to the SCSD for construction projects, we will make every effort to provide a project that fits the budget. And as plans are developed, we will keep a close track of the cost estimate using a cost estimating consultant to help with the fluctuating construction materials and labor market. In addition we will employ the use of “Alternates” in the construction documents for price controls. Having said that, alternates may result in less building than desire for the new school and/or using other means to house the number of students on campus.


Other school districts employ the use of modular classroom buildings to carry tem until permanent “brick and Mortar” buildings can be constructed. These are buildings that provide the classrooms needed but can be moved with little expense to make way for new construction. These modular buildings meet the Mississippi State Department of Education’s criteria for classrooms.









  1. Sue,

    The “information:” that was supposedly available had you only asked, were the drawings. Search the Simpson County School District Facebook page or website and you will not find the information as to status, timing, etc. simply does not exist.

    It appears that the Superintendent and School Board have decided and probably committed to purchase the Lane Property. A sad day for the taxpayers of Simpson County and students/teachers at Magee Elementary. A bad decision made on a severely flawed site search process and a general absence of significant key data required for a quality decision to be made (too many assumptions) !!

  2. How are the kids going to be a safe when the school district is talking about only building a modular schools for now instead of building a brick building. These kids will not be safe during a tornado at all and the school district ought to be ashamed of building modular building. The district needs to build brick building for classrooms and the school district needs to add a underground tornado shelter building too.


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