Trustees ok renovation plans

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

AHOSKIE – Plans are moving forward At Roanoke-Chowan Community College to renovate a portion of the facility to house the Early College High School (ECHS) program.

At their Tuesday meeting, the R-CCC Board of Trustees approved spending $491,048 for the renovation of the school’s old automotive technology center located in the Freeman Building.

The money for the project will come from a portion of the nearly $1.4 million recently awarded by the Golden LEAF Foundation to R-CCC and Hertford County Public Schools for the ECHS program.

Carolyn LaDow, R-CCC Dean of Finance and Administration, informed the trustees at Tuesday’s meeting of the current status of the renovation project. She presented the board a proposal from JKF Architecture of Greenville, one later approved by a unanimous vote of the trustees.

That proposal called for the renovation of approximately 4,000 square feet of space to use for three ECHS classrooms. The work calls for new walls, modifications to existing walls, new ceiling grid and tile, new diffusers (including redistribution of ductwork to accommodate the new layout), new lighting and power and new toilet rooms.

According to the proposal, the work also includes the installation of a corridor wall to provide a means for egress for the existing barber shop and related areas.

The general construction cost was listed at $418,151. Adding in five percent for contingency ($20,908) and $51,989 in architect fees brought the total to $491,048.

That figure is less than the $510,000 earmarked for renovation purposes in the Golden LEAF grant. However, there remains an additional expenditure of $32,415.63 if the college decides to proceed with an option of replacing the existing air handling unit that serves the Freeman Building.

The JKF Architecture proposal calls for expected occupancy of the renovated space by Aug. 1, 2008. Company president John K. Farkas did remind R-CCC officials that his firm was working with a shortened timeframe to have this project completed. He recommended the college have a contingency plan in place for relocating the students in case the renovation was not completed by Aug. 1. R-CCC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Wendy Ruffin-Barnes told her colleagues at Tuesday’s meeting that such a plan is already in place.

As part of their services, JKF Architecture will design and then prepare the construction drawings to aid in securing a local building permit and solicit lump sum construction bids from qualified contractors. They will also visit the project site during the renovation work and report the progress of that work to R-CCC officials.

The board of trustees, at their February meeting, approved the use of the Freeman Building for the ECHS program.

ECHS is a program where Hertford County High School students can obtain their regular diploma as well as a two-year college degree over a five-year time frame. The program, which starts this August, begins with 50, 9th graders in its first year and then adds 50 freshmen per year for a total of 250 students by year five. The application process begins with 8th grade students. High school administrators will select the 50 students per year.

The school will have its own principal, counselor, college liaison, core teachers (English, math, science and social studies) and support staff. Students involved in the program will carry dual enrollment at RCCC and Hertford County High School.

There will be a reception at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 4 in the community room of the Freeland Building for the new ECHS principal and program liaison.