JMCSS starting with new company for JCM football stadium


By Brandon Shields

Managing Editor

The project that will result in a new football stadium for Jackson Central-Merry is essentially resetting.

That’s the main point of Ricky Catlett’s report to the Jackson-Madison County Schools athletics committee on Tuesday, March 26.

“We meet weekly with project managers of all our construction projects weekly, and the original construction manager brought some concerns financially about the project to us and we couldn’t agree on a total cost for the project,” said Catlett, who is a deputy superintendent for JMCSS. “And because of the concerns they had, all bids for the project were rejected earlier this year and we’ve mutually agreed with the original developer to part ways on the project.”

Catlett told the committee that Lashlee-Rich Construction will be the new manager for the project since JMCSS already had a contract with them to renovate the old Madison Academic/Jackson High Building to make the new Central Administration Building there.

Crocker Construction was the original project manager, and the impasse between them and JMCSS was the guaranteed maximum price (GMP), which was never specifically mentioned in any public meeting because there was never one agreed upon between the entities.

“We need a GMP on any project as we budget for it, and we’d put some numbers out there over a year ago as we began looking at this and the work at Oman Arena,” Catlett said. “But we never could get a quality working stadium figured out for the money we were willing to pay compared to the prices we were given.

“So we both mutually agreed to part ways. We appreciate their work, and there’s nothing to say we won’t work with them in the future because we’ve done plenty of work with them in the past.”

Crocker Construction was the company that got the current Jackson Central-Merry and Madison Academic buildings constructed with less than a year-and-a-half given between groundbreaking and students moving in. JCM students moved into their building in October of 2021 coming back from Fall Break, and Madison students moved into theirs in January of 2022 after delays reportedly caused by supply chain issues.

Catlett said Tina Mercer, who was a consultant that served as a liaison between JMCSS and Crocker Construction, will sit down with Lashlee-Rich leaders in the coming days to get them up to speed on everything that’s been done so far.

After a ground-breaking in November, dirt was being moved that same day. But dirt moving was all that was accomplished before a weeklong delay because of a heavy snow storm in January was blamed for no more work being done since then since the large hole that had been dug had been filled with water for much of the time since then because of the snow and almost constant rain through February and most of March.

Catlett answered questions from the committee after his announcement. His answers to those questions assured the committee that the stadium will be done the way it’s been planned with full track and field facilities, turf field and facilities that are second to none in the region.

“We’ve ordered the track and the turf and the bleachers for this thing, and they’re supposed to be delivered later this year,” Catlett said, clarifying that a little more than $3 million had been spent or earmarked just for those items. “So we’re into this project. We’re not backing out of it.

“We’re going to get it done, and it will be a diamond for this district and this city.”

As far as a timeline for completion, nothing was ever specifically stated.

There are no expectations on it being done by the end of the upcoming football season that begins in August. The 2025 TSSAA track season begins in a little less than a year.

Brandon Shields,

Crocker Construction, Jackson Central-Merry, JMCSS, Lashlee-Rich Construction