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Architect Contractor Selected for New Tar Heel School

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The Bladen County Board of Education met Monday, June 7, 2021 for the purpose to discuss and take action on the architectural services contract for the new Tar Heel School, and to go into closed session for the purpose of discussing personnel and to consult with an attorney, if needed, as per NCGS 143.318.11, and to take action on personnel, if needed.

The meeting was open to the public. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was also broadcasted virtually.

To start the meeting after the invocation and prayer Rusty Worley with Bladen County Schools Maintenance Department presented the Board with an architect contract.

“This could be the first school of its kind in the nation,” Worley told Bladen Online staff, “because the plans are the school will be fully energy efficient.”

During Worley’s presentation to the board he noted there are outside contracts with Bladen County Schools for pre-construction inspections, soil testing, and septic design.

The contract up for approval is with SfL+a Architects, PA out of Raleigh. East and West Bladen High Schools were designed by the same company according to Worley.

The estimated costs of the architect contract was broken down as follows:

CCAP (maximum total costs) is $19,707,170
Design costs are at $1,389,505
Adding six extra classrooms will cost about an additional $2 million.

Worley explained the first payment is due now. The county will pay the first payment.

Board member Tim Benton asked if there was enough classrooms for the students coming from Dublin.

“We have 26 general classrooms.” said Superintendent Jason Atkinson.

Worley reported there are plans to add six classrooms with an extra expense of $2 million, which would make the total 32 general classrooms.

“Then that should cover it,” Benton stated, “I still have concerns.” He noted what was going to be done with Cumberland County students when they find out that Bladen County has a new school and want to attend the school. The multi-purpose room sizes and the old gym were other concerns Benton stated.

He expressed his desire to keep the existing gym building and build the new school around the old gym.

Worley explained the old gym is not ADA compliant, all the windows need to be replaced, there is no air conditioning and the gym floor and lighting needs to be replaced. The cost to get the gym ADA compliant would be around $1 million, Worley, estimated, which does not include the other maintenance items the old gym needs to be fixed.

Board member Gary Rhoda said, “I think an old gym will stick out like a sore thumb with a new building.”

Board member Glenn McKoy addressed the sentimental value of the old gym but the costs to the Schools to try to save the gym is too much.

Worley also explained keeping the gym would cause issues with parking and transportation.

Benton thanked the Board and Worley for their time and the opportunity to address his concerns.

Board Chair Mr. Roger Carroll then called for a vote to accept the architect contract after there was no further discussion.

Board member Vinston Rozier made the motion and it was seconded by Alan West.

Benton was the only Board member to vote nay for the motion. The motion passed.

The Board, along with their Attorney Gary Grady and other school staff members, went into closed session.

After the Board reconvened after closed session, Dr. Antonia Beatty requested an action item for potential list of summer staff to be approved by the Board.

Board member Dennis Edwards made the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is June 14, 2021.

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