BAKER — The Baker School Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a contract with Tillage Management Services to oversee the renovation of Baker High School, which was heavily damaged by flooding in August.

Board member Dana Carpenter was absent from the meeting.

The project management fee is not to exceed $720,000 on the estimated $12 million project and the contract is valid for 24 months beginning retroactively in January 2017.

Tillage will represent the school board in dealing with all third-party contractors involved in the project, Superintendent Herman Brister told the board.

Since the flood, Baker High students have been moved to Baker Middle School; the middle school students have been moved to Bakerfield Elementary; and Bakerfield and Baker Heights elementary students are sharing a campus.

During the board's February meeting, Brister said a final assessment on the flood damage would be available before the March board meeting. He declined to give a reason for the delay Tuesday night.

At the January board meeting, Keith Tillage of Tillage Management said if the cost of renovation exceeds 51 percent of the value of the building, the company would recommend tearing down and rebuilding Baker High.

At that time, Tillage estimated a renovation of the school could be finished by fall 2018, whereas construction of a new high school could take until 2019.

The state bond commission has given the go-ahead for the district to borrow $12 million for the repairs to Baker High. In February, Brister said the process of borrowing the money would begin before the end of the month. However, at Tuesday's meeting, he told the board he hoped to begin obtaining the loan within two weeks. He attributed the delay to paperwork that needed to be filed by a bond attorney.

Also on Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to allow Brister to open a Whitney Bank account that will serve as an approved depository for state funds to be used for recovery transactions related to the flooding.

The board also approved the proposed Baker School System calendar for the 2017-18 school year. The calendar mirrors the calendar for East Baton Rouge Parish school system, except for a few extra early dismissal days that will be used for teacher development. Students will leave school early on Sept. 20, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15 of this year and on Feb. 21 and March 21 of 2018.

The focus of the professional development will be determined after spring testing reveals which areas need work, Brister said.

In other business, the board recognized principal of the year Lakesha Penn, Baker Heights Elementary, and teachers of the year La'Quisha Comeaux, Baker High School, and Monique Epps and Stanley Jones, Park Ridge Academic Magnet.

Students of the year for the district are Naomi Guerin and Jamaya Joubert, Park Ridge; and Jared White, Baker High.

The board also recognized the Baker High boys basketball team for finishing third in district.