MACON – The Meridian School District school board is moving forward with its $29.2 million construction project by hosting weekly special meetings to discuss progress and plans.

The first payment of a $29.2 million school construction grant came through from the state last year, and board members are working on designs for the new high school.

Superintendent Dan Brue said construction bids will go out between April and June, and ground will be broken within a month of a contractor being chosen. The new high school will be connected to the old one, which will be converted into the middle school. An elementary school will be built in Blue Mound.

High school Principal Jack Blickensderfer will be retiring in June. In a unanimous vote, the board approved his replacement Eric Hurelbrink's resignation as high school athletic director and move to principal.

The board also read through proposed updates to the district policy. Several of the revisions are in response to new laws about medical marijuana and concealed-carry of firearms.

Marijuana will not be allowed on campus, but staff won't be prohibited from using it if needed.

“If a doctor prescribes medical marijuana to teacher or employee, they could take it as long as it doesn’t impair judgment,” Brue said.

Also under new state law, a permitted person can drive onto school property and transfer their firearm into a compartment in a locked car or unload the weapon and move it to their trunk.

The issue of removing a weapon from the vehicle was a cause for concern for some board members.

“My biggest fear as a superintendent is doing what their legally allowed to do and someone calling 911,” Brue said.

Firearms will not be allowed on district property outside locked vehicles.

Brue discussed the newly released financial report from the state. Meridian's finances were a 3.6 out of a 4.0 scale, putting the district in the highest state rating.

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