01/16/11 — Officials to tour schools

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Officials to tour schools

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 16, 2011 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners will tour Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools Tuesday in conjunction with a review of planned renovation work at the two schools.

Because of the 2 p.m. tour and a light agenda, commissioners have rescheduled the start of their Tuesday session from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in their meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Commissioners will be at the Farm Bureau office, 2405 N. William St., at noon for an informal luncheon program. Goldsboro City Council and the county's legislative delegation have been invited as well to the session on Farm Bureau services.

Commissioners asked for the school tours in light of the potential additions to the projects at both Norwayne and Eastern Wayne -- additional classrooms and a media center not originally requested, County Manager Lee Smith said.

School board members are expected to take the tour as well.

Smith said county officials have talked with engineers and bond attorneys to get the actual time line confirmed for the projects.

Earlier this month, the board, after first reminding the school board about adding any padding to the projects, approved the school board's application for $15 million in bonds through the federal Qualified School Construction Bonds program.

The bonds would be used for the renovation, repair and construction projects at the two schools.

Commissioners' approval does not mean work can start on the projects. The application and bid documents first have to be approved by the Local Government Commission.

However, school officials, who approved the application in December, wanted to get the process under way since the bonds have to be sold by the end of December. Afterwards, the county has a three-year window in which to spend and complete the project. Failure to do so would cost the county access to the bonds.

Lottery proceeds will be used to pay the bond principal and local funds will pay the interest. The federal government will reimburse the county's interest payments at the end of the year -- an arrangment that is expected to save the county $750,000 to $800,000 per year over the bond payback period.

The Norwayne project includes air conditioning the gym and the demolition of a classroom building to be replaced by a new two-story building.

Also, another old building is scheduled for some retrofitting and there have been conversations about possibly demolishing it as well and replacing it with a new one.

The Eastern Wayne project also includes demolition and construction of a two-story building for classrooms and an administration area. Other work includes air conditioning for the kitchen and gym.

In other business Tuesday, the board's consent agenda includes a request for establishing a public hearing on a rezoning petition. The county Planning Board has recommended that the rezoning petition by John Harrell be approved.

However, the public hearing is required before commissioners can act. Adjoining property owners would be notified of the rezoning prior to any hearing and a sign announcing the rezoning would be placed on the property as well.

Harrell has asked that approximately 10 acres of land on the west side of Woodland Church Road near U.S. 13 in Brogden Township be rezoned from Residential-Agriculture 20 to Village District.

The Planning Board first discussed the petition in December, but delayed action until it could be reviewed by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officials since the land is within the one-half mile extension of the base noise area. The land is outside the base's noise levels and accident potential zone.

The county has since received a letter from base officials saying that the request is compatible with the land use information in the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Report and that they have no objection to rezoning.

The rezoning would allow the property to be used for residential or small commercial use. The current zoning does not allow commercial use.

Commissioners also will consider three minor subdivision plats that have been recommended by the Planning Board

* Megan N. Parks, final, one lot on the west side of North Beston Road in New Hope Township

* Linda R. Barnes, final, one lot on the west side of Hinnant Road in Buck Swamp Township

* Jerry R. Sutton Jr., final, one lot on the north side of Crocus Lane in New Hope Township. Crocus Lane is a private road at the end of Piney Grove Church Road.

The Planning Board also approved a variance request by Sutton. County ordinances require that roads with a certain number of houses be paved. Sutton has said that the four houses on the road are all owned and occupied by relatives. He asked that the family not have to pave the road.