A long-planned animal barn will finally be constructed outside Milford High School this winter, although it could be several more months before students are allowed inside.
The Milford school board voted unanimously on Monday to approve a pair of contracts that will allow work to begin on the 40-by-120-foot pole barn near the high school’s practice soccer field.
Delmarva Pole Building Supply of Wyoming, Del. was awarded an $87,545 contract to construct the pole barn, a concrete pad and overhead doors, while Kent Construction of Smyrna was awarded a $73,702 contract to do the storm drainage work.
“The kids are so excited the barn is actually going to be built, and that makes me excited,” said Judith Bruns, the animal science teacher at Milford High School. “A majority of my students don’t come from farms, so this barn will go a long way in providing them with real, hands-on experience working with livestock animals.”
Currently, students who enter the Future Farmers of America competition at the Delaware State Fair must board their animals at Brun’s parents’ farm off Canterbury Road.
“It will be great to have those facilities on school grounds instead, and not just for the FFA,” Bruns said. “Other students also will be able to do science projects on things like feed conversion and growth rates and be able to see them through until the end.”
An animal barn was first proposed at Milford High in 2009 after about $500,000 in funding was leftover from the bond bill that paid for the construction of the Milford Central Academy.
The initial proposal called for a state-of-the art facility that included classroom space. However, bids for that project came in at about $1.5 million, school officials said.
A scaled-down proposal was advertised last year, but those bids still came in at more than $1 million.
“It’s been a long ordeal in which the price always seemed to come out much higher than we expected,” Milford Board of Education President Patrick Emory said. “But now we’re finally moving forward, I’m anxious to see it happen.”
While the pole barn is expected to be finished by March, students likely won’t be able to use the facility until later in the spring after a gravel roadway and trenching are completed and an electrical system and fire alarm are installed.
Those segments of the project, which have not yet be contracted, are expected to add another $395,300 to the cost, bringing the total to about $557,000.
A portion of the final funding will come in the form of state grants acquired by Milford-area state legislators, such as Sen. Gary Simpson, Rep. Harvey Kenton and Rep. David Wilson, Emory said.
Page 2 of 2 - “I’m just sorry we won’t be able have the project finished earlier so the students could use it during the spring as they prepare for this year’s state fair,” he said. “But I am glad it will eventually be finished.”