BAKER — The School Board decided Tuesday night to proceed with much-needed renovations at Baker High School and moved forward on improvements at other schools in the district.

The board received an assessment conducted by engineering consulting firm Volkert Inc. in January recommending more than $4 million in repairs and upgrades to Baker High School.

The school built 62 years ago has heating and air-conditioning problems, drainage issues and problems created by lack of consistent maintenance of all campus buildings, according to the report.

The board voted unanimously to allow Volkert to prepare to accept bids for work on the high school.

The board also moved forward on repairs to the driveway and parking lot at Baker Middle School.

In November, the school district accepted the low bid of $139,500 from Gray Two Construction of Baton Rouge to repair the pavement. At that time, eight firms submitted bids ranging as high as $266,700.

The board agreed Tuesday to pay Gray Two an additional $15,200 for spreading lime on the soil before completing the repairs. Board members Elaine Davis, Shona Boxie and Dana Carpenter voted in favor of the contract change.

Doris Alexander abstained. Troy Watson was absent for the vote.

Clay Slagle, of Volkert Inc., explained that a soil assessment conducted by Atterberg Limits identified the need for the lime.

Volkert also will assess the lighting systems in Baker Heights Elementary, Bakerfield Elementary, Park Ridge Academic Magnet and Baker Middle schools.

By a unanimous vote, the board authorized the company to test lighting levels at the four schools and offer recommendations on how to improve illumination and save on electricity costs by using high-efficiency lighting in the buildings.

Slagle said the survey would be free of charge and that the company would provide cost estimates for the improvements as part of the assessment.

Other matters coming before the board included:

RUMORS DENIED: Superintendent Ulysses Joseph added that, despite rumors making the rounds in the Baker community, there are no plans to close any schools in the district.