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Year’s Top Stories – #10

WINDSOR – Bertie High School has been an aging facility for many years.

In 2011, the Bertie County Commissioners and Bertie County Board of Education entered a partnership to build a new school across the street from the one built in the 1950s.

The year began with discussions about the feasibility of the project and ended with the hiring of an architect and a mutual agreement to move forward with the construction of an approximately $18 million new building.

From the Oct. 29 edition…

Bertie County officials joined together to tour a pair of existing high schools with the idea of deciding which architect would be best suited to construct a new Bertie High School.

Commissioners L.C. Hoggard III, Norman M. Cherry Sr. and Charles L. Smith joined board of education members Alton Parker and Emma Johnson in touring Corinth-Holders High School in Wendell and Midway High School in Sampson County. Joining them on the tour was then Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins and Bertie County Economic Development Director Steve Biggs.

The group saw the two schools and said it helped in the decision-making process.

“It was good to see the schools in person rather than on an architect’s drawing,” Hoggard said. “It was a good trip for all of us.”

 

From the Nov. 8 edition…

Following the trip to see the two schools, the Bertie County Commissioners discussed the awarding of the contract to an architect.

Commissioners Rick Harrell and J. Wallace Perry said they would lean on the advice of the two former educators on the board – Cherry and Smith – as they made the decision.

Both commissioners agreed that the school in Wendell, which was handled by Hite Associations, was the superior of the two buildings they toured. They said they were pleased with the ability to see through the entire school, the possible use of the facility by the community and the placement of the heating and air conditioning units inside the building.

“That school exemplifies what we are looking for in a 21st century school,” Cherry added.

From the Nov. 15 edition…

In addition to moving towards the building of a new high school by naming an architect, the Bertie County Commissioners also learned about financing options for the facility.

Davenport and Company – the county’s financial advisors – said there was approximately $18 million available in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCB) awarded to Bertie County.

The board was told the original allocation was due to be spent in December, but an extension left them in good shape for the timetable set for the current bidding and construction of the school.

Ted Cole, who spoke on behalf of Davenport, said the bonds would allow the county to build the middle school at approximately net zero interest. The bonds will be sold and then the county will have the opportunity to receive a subsidy from the Internal Revenue Service that could completely offset the price.

 

From the Dec. 3 edition…

Following discussions with county officials, the Bertie County Board of Education officially took steps to put the new school “on the fast track.”

Meeting  in special session, the board passed three motions to allow the county to move forward with the building of the new 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.