Van Buren School District will interview three construction management firms interested in overseeing the building of the district’s new elementary school.

Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat told the school board Tuesday that nine firms expressed interest in the 500-student school on a 21-acre site north of Interstate 40.

He said the list had been trimmed to three - C.R. Crawford Construction, Baldwin and Shell and Navholz - from the list that also included Clark Construction, Flintco, Van Horn, Milestone, Kinco and Breashers.

The new school will be about 60,000 square feet and is estimated to cost about $12 million. In April, the Arkansas Facilities Division announced it had approved $5.3 million in state funding to help construct VBSD’s seventh elementary school.

As part of the state requirements, the district has 18 months to enter into a contract for construction and 48 months to complete the school.

Jeffcoat said a selection committee will make a recommendation before the end of the month. He said the school board expected to have a called meeting to approve the construction management firm.

At the meeting, Jeffcoat said he also would have an update on a track replacement project at Van Buren High School. The renovation will include new drainage for the field, new concession stand with restrooms and a new main entrance.

The superintendent plans to update the board on the high school cafeteria serving area, which will be redesigned to allow for greater meal options for students and improved operational efficiency for staff.

“This improvement came at the request of our students who wanted a food court that increased options and resembled something you might find at a university campus,” Jeffcoat said earlier. “Students and staff are equally excited about this project.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted 7-0 to adopt the ranking method for grade point averages as mandated by the Arkansas Department of Education and college reporting.

The method uses a 4.0 credit for all courses except those advanced placement courses weighted on the 5.0 scale.

Students entering the Freshman Academy on Wednesday will be under the state model, Jeffcoat pointed out. Students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades will continue under the current GPA method.

“We currently have students dropping out of activities to pick up other AP classes,” Jeffcoat said. “The state method adopted tonight will make for more rounded students.”

Without a closed session, the board approved a personnel report that included the employment of Tommie Campbell as senior Army ROTC instructor at Van Buren High School, Amber Dodd as classroom teacher at Parkview Elementary School, Hilaree Henderson as classroom teacher at Izard Center for Learning, Josh Robbins as courier for the school district and teacher’s aide at King Elementary School, Tamyon Ellison as service center mechanic and David Goodman, Tonaya Allbaugh, Tony Kaman, Charles Reneau, Sarah Sanderson and Terry Watts as bus drivers.

The board accepted the resignations of Pam Harrison as classroom teacher at Butterfield Trail Middle School, Christina Cazell as education foundation secretary, Glynieta Price as cook at King Elementary and Darrell Martin as bus driver.