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School construction projects approved

WINTON – Two new construction projects for Hertford County Public Schools will move from the drawing board to reality.

On Monday, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to allow for building additions to the C.S. Brown Student Development Center in Winton and the football field house at Hertford County High School in Ahoskie.

Both projects had already gain approval from the Hertford County Board of Education.

The combined cost of the two projects was estimated at just over $2 million – $1,329,180 for C.S. Brown and $672,927 for the field house.

According to Hertford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Basham, funding will come from two different sources.

The bulk of the funding ($1,025,194) for the C.S. Brown project will come from the school system’s Capital Reserve Fund. The remainder ($303,986) will be paid for by Hertford County’s share of the proceeds generated by the North Carolina Education Lottery.

The entire field house project will be funded with lottery proceeds.

As of January 28, Basham said Hertford County had a lottery fund balance of $976,913 while its Capital Reserve Fund stood at $1.1 million. He stressed that no matching funds from the county were required for either project.

Basham added that construction bids have yet to be received and felt the projected costs may be less than estimated, especially the C.S. Brown project.

“We think that’s a high projection,” Basham said of the plans at C.S. Brown. “We feel it’s a good time to do these types of projects. Contractors need the work and they will give good prices in order to get that work.”

“This will not cost the Hertford County taxpayers any money,” quizzed Commission Chairman Howard Hunter III.

“No sir,” Basham answered.

Commissioner DuPont Davis wanted to make sure that Dr. Basham was aware of a recent decision by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue in regards to the state “intercepting” the lottery proceeds designated for each county in order to help balance the state budget.

“What the governor is withholding in lottery funds will not affect these projects,” Basham said. “The lottery funds we have accumulated in our account are not affected.”

The C.S. Brown project will include a 5,308 square foot classroom addition to the existing building. A 552 square foot connecter will be constructed to link the buildings.

Within the new building will be four general classrooms, a science lab, office space, restrooms and rooms for storage and telecommunications. The project also includes replacing old windows in the existing building.

Figuring in the window replacement, science lab equipment and other renovations to the existing building, the total estimated construction cost is $1.14 million. Adding in a five percent contingency fee, survey costs and the architectural charges, the bottom line was figured at $1,329,180.

Dr. Basham praised the efforts behind reopening the old C.S. Brown School as a stand-alone alternative high school. He said this type of school was needed to give those students who had fallen behind in their studies another chance to receive an education and become productive citizens.

“We’re not going to turn our backs on these students…throw them out in the street to fend for themselves,” Basham said. “This school has a place in our system.”

First opened in the early 1990’s, the HCHS football field house was never fully completed according to its original blueprints. That long-awaited completion is now just around the corner.

The new addition (4,752 square feet) will include a multi-purpose room, which will be primarily used as a practice area for the wresting team. Additionally, the new wing will house another athletic locker room (with space for 50 lockers), office space for athletic coaches, restrooms, storage area and a new fire alarm system.

Estimated construction cost is $570,240. Adding in contingency, surveys and architectural fees brings the total cost to $672,927.

Commissioners Curtis Freeman and William F. Mitchell Jr. provided respective motions to approve the C.S. Brown and HCHS field house projects. Both motions passed without objection.

“The dollars you have put into our schools over the years have made our school system among the best in the state and I thank you for that,” Basham collectively told the commissioners.

Davis, making reference to a well-rounded education, closed by saying, “A good education cannot be measured in just dollars and cents.”