Architect hired for new high school

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WINDSOR – Another two items are off the checklist.

As Bertie County leaders move forward with the construction of a new Bertie High School, two of items were moved into the completed stack Monday. Bertie County Commissioners officially approved contracts with the architect of the new school and their own financial advisor.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb said he and County Attorney Lloyd Smith had been working with Hite Associates and Bertie County Board of Education Attorney Rod Malone to develop a contract for the architectural services of the new school.

An agreement was reached to enter a contract with a fixed amount for the services provided by Hite Associates. That fee, $800,000, would be paid even if the county decides to include alternates when the project is bid.

Lamb and Smith suggested one slight change in the contract. The contract specified the county would spend $18 million on the project and $17 million other than the architectural fee. Lamb said the actual amount would be $17.2 million other than the fee and wanted to make sure the other $200,000 was accounted for in the contract.

Vice Chairman J. Wallace Perry asked if the contract included a Construction Manager and Lamb said Hite would oversee the project, but the county could hire a separate manager if they chose.

“Do we need that,” Perry asked.

Jimmy Hite, who represented Hite Associates, said that wasn’t necessary because part of the firm’s contract was to oversee the construction of the project.

Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr. moved to approve the contract with Commissioner Charles L. Smith offering a second. It passed by a unanimous vote and will now be forwarded to the Bertie County Board of Education for its approval.

The next item on the agenda was the discussion of the financial services contract with Davenport and Company.

“I very, very, very strongly recommend you employ them as your financial advisor during the selling of the bonds for this project,” Lamb told the board.

As financial advisor, Davenport and Company would be responsible for leading the county as they sell $18 million worth of Qualified School Construction Bonds and help the board as they gain a return on the interest paid from the Internal Revenue Service.

The agreement calls for Davenport to execute the sale of the bonds and serve as an advisor to the county throughout the process in exchange for a fee of $50,000 for a private placement transaction or $120,000 for a public offering. They will also be paid direct out-of-pocket expenses.

Commissioners objected to a four percent charge of the total bill for indirect costs and that portion of the contract was struck with the agreement of Davenport’s representative.

Commissioner Rick Harrell made the motion to approve the contract with Perry offering a second. It passed without objection.

Lamb said ideally the bonds would be sold in July of 2012 to allow for the first payment to be made in the 2013-14 fiscal year budget. Ted Cole, who represented Davenport, said he believed it was possible to at least have only an interest payment in the 2012-13 budget and that he would endeavor to assist the county in waiting to make the initial payment.

Hite said he anticipated bids going out in mid-April with the opening of bids and awarding coming in May. Lamb said that would mean the bonds would be sold in June or July.