School Board places new BHS on ‘fast track’

Published 8:23 am Monday, December 5, 2011

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Education took steps here Wednesday to ensure the building of a new high school.

During a special meeting, the school board took action on three items to support the Bertie County Commissioners as they move forward with the building of a new Bertie High School.

The first motion approved by the board was to consent to the Bertie County Commissioners entering a contract with Hite Associates for the construction for the school. The motion added that the school board would be involved in the design and construction of the property to the “same extent as if the local board owned the property.”

The board also authorized its chairperson, Gloria Lee, to notify the county that the board will have the new high school built on land owned by the county and lease the school from the county utilizing a lease “that would not contain as option for the school system to purchase the property for one dollar or some other insignificant amount at the conclusion of the lease term.”

The final motion approved by the board acknowledged the fact the county has only committed $18 million to the construction of a new high school at this time.

All three motions were passed by a unanimous vote of the three members present. They were Lee, Vice Chair Pamela Chamblee and member Emma Johnson. Board members Rickey Freeman and Alton Parker were not at the meeting, though Freeman sent a letter stating his support for the three motions.

The Bertie County Commissioners have taken the lead in building the new high school which is likely to be constructed across U.S. 13 from the current high school and adjacent to Bertie Middle School.

In October, three Bertie County Commissioners – Chairman L.C. Hoggard III, Norman M. Cherry Sr. and Charles L. Smith – joined board members Johnson and Parker in touring schools from two prospective architects.

From that trip and the information received from those interested in the project, the commissioners chose Hite to build the school with a model that would be similar to Corinth-Holders High School in Wendell.

The commissioners had sought a joint meeting to work with the school board on the matter, but the school board met on its own to discuss the matter and take action.

Bertie County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins said the two boards would meet to discuss the matter further in the near future.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb said the actions taken by the school board allowed the commissioners to move forward.

“We appreciate their quick attention to these matters,” he said. “Their actions allow the commissioners to approve an architectural contract during their meeting Monday (Dec. 5) and put the project on the fast track.”