The pursuit of excellence: School sets standard we should strive for on other projects

January 13, 2011 9:56:00 AM



With its impressive architecture and attention to detail, the new Columbus Middle School has raised the bar on local public works projects. 


We''re not done marveling at the new building. Public tours continue today from 4-8 p.m., and even if your child isn''t in the school system, the building is certainly worth seeing. 


While we can still bask in the middle school''s success, it''s also time to turn our attention to other local public works projects. Lowndes County and the city of Columbus are plowing ahead, literally, on the soccer complex in Burns Bottom. Trees are being removed and work on the empty land will soon begin as the park takes shape, at the entrance to downtown Columbus on Main Street. 


Bids for the park work came in higher than expected, which has caused the county and city to find innovative ways to trim costs while keeping the lofty vision for the park intact. 


In-kind services from Columbus Light and Water means steel light poles, not the original concrete. Aluminum, rather than copper, will be used for wiring. Boardwalks planned to wind through the park''s natural elements will be pine, rather than more expensive wood. 


Neel Schaffer, the firm overseeing the project, and the park''s stakeholders will certainly find other cost savings. 


Up the hill and across the street, work will soon begin on a redesign of the parking at the Tennessee Williams Home, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau in the new building behind it, and the adjoining lot. The concept is a unified landscaping design that incorporates the entire block. 


What do a school, a park and a condominium/office complex have in common? Seemingly, not much. We''d like them to be connected by one word: Quality. 


The middle school has set the bar; it has shown us what can be possible with a little vision (and a lot of tax dollars).  


We''re paying for all this stuff. Like the middle school, we should demand they all be top notch.