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$2.7M in furniture approved for new NHS
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Furniture and equipment will soon be on the way for the new replacement Newton High School as the Newton County Board of Education unanimously approved at its Tuesday board meeting purchasing items for the school, which is currently under construction.

Furniture and equipment will be purchased from Contrax Furnishings, a full-service furniture and equipment supplier in Gainesville, Fla., for a total of $2.76 million.

Purchases included in the contract estimate were classroom furnishings for $1.4 million, administration furnishings at $490,300; cafeteria equipment and furnishings for $318,470; computers at $271,552; media center furnishings for $218,269; and outdoor furnishings at $69,435.

Board member Eddie Johnson asked if the furniture for the new school was approved by the principal of the school, Craig Lockhart, and Mike Barr, NCSS director of Support Services, said Lockhart reviewed and approved the furnishings.

Barr said school system personnel considered a number of options to procure the furniture and equipment needed for the replacement Newton High School. These options included separate invitations for bids, request for proposals and the various national purchasing cooperatives that are available.

After review, the school system used contracts developed under the support of two national purchasing cooperatives, the National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance and The Cooperative Purchasing Network.

“These contracts were put out in a formal, sealed competitive bid process that meets our policy requirements. The advantage of these agreements are that they allow government agencies to aggregate purchasing power and thus deliver better pricing than we could attain on our own,” Barr said. “The procurement department engages in regular market analysis to develop the judgment on when to utilize such arrangements, and the types of goods or services that it would be most cost-effective and advantageous to do so.”

The school system acquired the items through Contrax Furnishings from nineteen separate companies utilizing the aforementioned cooperative purchasing agreements.

“We chose to utilize Contrax Furnishings because they are a full service furniture and equipment dealer focusing on the educational sector, and specializing in the K-12 market,” Barr said. “They were able to assist the school system attain the full spectrum of equipment, furniture and supplies needed for the current school build. Additionally, the company’s web-based platform provides project management functionality which allows school system personnel to coordinate logistics, schedules, inventory and inspections. Contrax Furnishings also provides services such as space planning and room layout, and the delivery and installation of equipment.”

On The News' Facebook page, school spokeswoman Sherri Davis-Viniard said the furniture and equipment at the old Newton High School will go into the school system’s surplus and inventory program.

"All items that can be utilized at other schools and facilities will be moved to those locations on an as needed basis. Replacement furniture has not been budgeted for a number of years. Accordingly, the furniture in the school is needed and will be used. Items not suitable for use in other schools will be sold on the online auction site GovDeals," Viniard said.