High bids delay changes

Published 10:59 am Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WINDSOR – Changes to the 12-classroom addition at the new Bertie High School will add additional expense to the project.

With that as a documented fact, architect Jimmy Hite told the Bertie County Commissioners Monday he was not ready to accept bids totaling approximately $136,000 for those changes.

“A couple of them seem high to us, especially the plumbing ($65,000) and electrical ($28,000),” Hite said. “We are not recommending you accept them at this time.”

Last month, the commissioners asked Hite to work with the contractors to secure bids for the changes which will add a Life Skills room for exceptional students and a science lab as part of the addition. That was necessary because of the decision to move special needs students and Bertie STEM High School into the new facility.

Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr. asked if Hite’s reluctance to accept the bids meant he thought they could be less.

“Hopefully they will be,” Hite said. “They seem high to us for the changes we are requesting.”

He asked for time to work with the contractors to see if the bids could be lowered and the commissioners agreed.

The architect did tell the board there were additional monies that would be returned to the county for the project. Hite said there would be approximately $148,000 paid to the county from e-rate reimbursements and another $50,000 coming from the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the funds spent by the county on bus driveways.

He said those funds would be in addition to the $300,000 in contingency already built into the project.

Cherry then asked Interim Bertie County Schools Superintendent Elaine White if she had discussed the cost of the changes with Hite and she indicated she had not.

“I said when I was here before that I am definitely in favor of the changes made,” White said. “The Life Skills room and the Science lab are important. I see both as needs.”

Hite said he was in no way indicating the changes shouldn’t be made, but simply wanted more time to work out the cost of those changes before recommending them to the board.

Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III said he appreciated Hite keeping the board members informed and asked that he continue to do so in the future.