| By Jason C. Mattox
City leaders of Sardis are moving forward in accommodating both Steelmatic Wire, Inc. and the soon-to-be-displaced clients of Panola Industries who presently share the old Air Kontrol building.
Chad Wages, of Mendrop-Wages Engineering, told Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye and the Board of Aldermen that advertising for bids on the modification of the building will appear in publications beginning in January.
"We are planning to hold a mandatory pre-bid meeting on Jan. 5," he said. "That way anyone who might be interested in the project can make themselves more familiar with any quirks the building might have."
Dye said the progression with the building is thanks in large part to the work done by Wages and Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons.
"Chad and Sonny have been instrumental in getting this project rolling," he said.
Simmons informed the board that a $150,000 grant for the modifications has been approved.
"Steelmatic knows they will be responsible for any costs over the amount of the grant," he said. "They don’t have any problems with that at all."
As for jobs, Simmons said the first wave of hiring will result in 12 to 15 jobs, but more could come in the future.
"We certainly are hoping they will expand to more than those original jobs," he said.
As for the building’s other tenants, Panola Industries is a sheltered workshop that operates under the umbrella of the North Mississippi Regional Center, offering vocational training to 32 people with developmental disabilities.
"They knew in advance that if someone came in wanting to lease the building, they would have 30 days to move out," he said. "We have been working with them to make sure they have somewhere they can go."
Dye said he expects them to be moved either Friday or early next week.
"They have to do a walk through of the new location (the doctor’s office near the North Panola Hospital), before we can get them moved in," Dye said.
"Once that is done, we will go ahead and do what we can to get them moved."