Leaders in the Hopkins County School System gather Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bus Driver Training Center and Browning Springs Middle School Fieldhouse. Pictured, from left, are George Jones, Marty Cline, Bobby Fox, J.W. Durst, John Osborne, Susanne Wolford, Steve Faulk, Deanna Ashby, Keith Cartwright and Amy Smith.

After years of discussions and planning, the Hopkins County Board of Education broke ground for the Bus Driver Training Center and Browning Springs Middle School Fieldhouse on Monday, a project that has been on the to do list since 2017, according to board members.

“We started talking about this project in 2017,” said board member Susanne Wolford. “We came out and surveyed and realized we needed to do something … the driver trainer center — as well as the stadium — was in a state of disrepair, so we started thinking of it then.”

Assistant Hopkins County Superintendent Marty Cline said the foundation work will start on Tuesday.

“The hope is to be finished by February,” he said. “They are hoping to get done before then. We will see how it goes. With construction you have to take a bet on mother nature as you move through.”

The rooms under the bleacher complex at BSMS were built in the late 1930s and had been used to house locker rooms, coaches’ offices and restrooms. Their last use was only to store football equipment in the offseason. A building adjacent to that was used by the transportation employees.

On June 16, the board awarded the bid of the project to Downey Professional Construction for contracting services in the amount of $529,500. The board also approved a change order on Aug. 17 that saved the district around $16,000 by removing an interior wall and an additional water heater.

The project is listed in the district’s facility plan as discretionary and is described as a combination driver training center/fieldhouse of 4,800 square feet with an estimated cost of $500,000.

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