Plans advance for new Bertie High School

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WINDSOR – The two entities responsible for a proposed new high school will work together on the new facility.

During the regular meeting of the Bertie County Commissioners on February 14, that board agreed to work with the Bertie County Board of Education as they strive to build a new Bertie High School.

Interim Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Will Crawford appeared before the commissioners to request the ability to submit a Request for Qualifications for an architectural firm to design the new school.

Before Dr. Crawford spoke, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb provided information about the current level of financing in place for the school. He reminded the board that there was a total of just over $18 million available in no-interest loans from the Quality School Construction Bond that had been approved for the county. He said the bonds must be committed by December of next year.

Lamb also told the board a delineation of proposed site across from the current Bertie High School had been done, but more should be done.

“If it is the wish of the board, we should go forward with soil borings and other environmental work,” Lamb said. “If we do that, we can make sure we’re moving forward with the right site.”

Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr. said he understood the timeline for selling the bonds.

“We know the timeline for the bonds, but are there other timelines we need to be aware of,” Cherry asked. “The reason I’m asking is you have to make sure we do everything that needs to be done in a timely manner so we can get it done.”

Lamb said that is exactly why Dr. Crawford and members of the school board were there.

“I am aware, as you are, that the clock is ticking,” Dr. Crawford said. “We need to make a timeline so that we can move forward. I don’t think Bertie County will get another extension for the bonds as we did last year.”

He said the first important item was to decide who was going to lead the project – the commissioners or the school board.

Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III suggested the two board chairs – he and Board of Education Chair Gloria Lee – sit down with Lamb and Dr. Crawford to move forward.

“I think that’s the best idea,” Dr. Crawford said. “I know that can work smoothly.”

Lee said she was willing to work with the commissioners and that the school board was still intent on building the new school.

“We look forward to sitting across the table from you and working together,” Lee said. “Thanks for all the support you have given us for the children and the support you will continue to give us.”

The commissioners then spent time discussing the size of the new school. The current design is for 600 students with all core facilities built to house 900 students.

Lamb said the first options would be for more classrooms.

The board agreed to allow the two chairs and the managers to sit down and review the project and have them come back and report to both boards.