desks school stock classroom

BAKER — An open meeting is scheduled 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Baker School Board office to discuss the status of the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan application to repair Baker High School.

Baker High was damaged during the flooding in 2016 and since then, the high school's students have been attending classes at Baker Middle School. Middle school students occupy Bakerfield Elementary’s campus and Bakerfield and Baker Heights students share the Baker Heights campus.

Plans call for tearing down some of the existing Baker High buildings and scaling down the school, which was built to accommodate 1,500 students, to a 675 student capacity, which is more in line with current enrollment.

In September, the USDA accepted the application for two loans for the district, one for $7 million and the other for $7.6 million, to fund rebuilding the school, both at a 3.5% interest rate.

The USDA loan was split into two for accounting purposes, Corey Young of the USDA explained at that time.

More funding is expected to come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has agreed to provide a $5 million grant toward rebuilding Baker High and $1.2 million for furniture and other supplies.

Young will be at Wednesday's meeting at the school board office, at 14750 Plank Road, to discuss the status of the loan and hopefully announce that the loan application is complete, Superintendent Herman Brister said.

Brister told the board Tuesday that, to his knowledge, the district has done everything it needs to in order to obtain the loan.

The public will have an opportunity to ask questions about the loan at the meeting.

Board member Joyce Burges said she plans to livestream the meeting from either her personal Facebook page or the Baker High School Alumni 2.0 Facebook page.

In other business, the board unanimously approved two requests for proposals, one for a lawn maintenance contract for all of the district schools as well as the school board office and the other for high speed internet access and wide area network connectivity for the schools in the district.

Both RPFs are necessary to comply with state requirements, but are also opportunities for the district to see if it can obtain a better price for the services, Brister said.

The board also recognized Baker High volleyball player Naiylah Rivers and Baker High football players Thomas Benton, Dillion Cage, Kiley Clifton, Marteece Covington, Tamon Dukes, Jalen Gross, Dalynn Harleaux, Rayshon Jenkins, Colby Neff, Jaylin Pendleton, Tremonte Spears, Desmond Windon, and Keyshawn Young.