Commissioners set course for facilities
By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 30, 2013 1:50 AM
A nearly $258 million capital improvement plan adopted Tuesday afternoon by Wayne County commissioners spreads new facilities and renovation projects over a 10-year period.
The total includes $72.5 million in "pay-as-you-go" projects for Wayne County Public Schools, Wayne Community College and general county projects.
The board's 5-2 vote on Tuesday to approve the plan does not commit the county to doing any of the projects. It also does not appropriate any funding.
The county would pay for the projects by using about $106 million in cash, including $18.2 million in possible grants, and about $152 million in financing. Possible financing methods could include bonds or even a new local quarter-cent sales tax.
The grant money could be used for projects at the Wayne Executive Jetport and for a regional agricultural center.
Commissioners had been presented with two possible plans during their Tuesday meeting with officials from Davenport & Co., the consulting firm that assists the county in financial planning for capital improvement projects.
The only difference between the two was how they addressed a new Grantham School.
The approved plan calls for a $30 million K-8 school on a new location and closing the existing school. The other plan included a $17.6 million middle school on a new site and leaving the elementary school on the current site.
Commissioners did make two changes to their plan by moving the Grantham School project and a $3 million sewer project for the school from fiscal year 2015-16 to 2014-15.
The move would allow those two projects to start in the same year as several other school projects.
Those other projects are: $1.87 million for central attendance area schools; $3.85 million for Spring Creek Elementary School; and $6.6 million for Charles B. Aycock High School.
The only other project planned for that year is a $9 million 50,000-square-foot addition to the County Office Building, which houses the Health Department and Department of Social Services.
First up on the plan for the new fiscal year that starts Monday is the ongoing effort to build a new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive.
The plan includes $3.5 million for the library. The county recently sent out requests for qualifications for design/build teams that want to bid on the project. The deadline to respond is 2 p.m. Tuesday. The responses are scheduled to be reviewed during the week of July 15.
Commissioners have not yet set a timetable for the library.
Also in the plan are:
FISCAL YEAR 2015-16
The first of several projects at Wayne Community College, a new power plant, is scheduled, as is a new jail.
The $8 million energy plant tops WCC's priority list. It is needed, WCC officials said, because the existing plant lacks the capacity the college needs to add new buildings.
The county has looked at several options to ease the cost of a new jail, which could exceed $50 million. Commissioners have slowed that process in recent weeks after the state announced that it would close the Wayne Correctional Center near Cherry Hospital.
If that happens, commissioners hope to convince the state to convey the property to the county to be renovated as a 427-bed jail.
The plan includes $4 million to renovate the facility should that happen.
FISCAL YEAR 2016-17
County officials are hopeful that grants will be available to help with the cost of an $11 million regional agricultural center and $800,000 hangar project at the Wayne Executive Jetport.
Also planned is $1.4 million in renovations at the Sullivan Building for the Day Reporting Center.
The year also would see construction the first of five proposed emergency medical services satellite locations. Each one is expected to cost $400,000.
FISCAL YEAR 2017-18
Wayne Community College's Holly Building is scheduled for a $20.7 million facelift, which includes renovations and additions (general classrooms and science labs), site work and parking.
A new $17.6 million Spring Creek School is planned as is a $2.3 million E-911 data center.
FISCAL YEAR 2018-19
The only project on tap is a $400,000 emergency medical services satellite location.
FISCAL YEAR 2019-20 and beyond
Commissioners are anticipating grants to help pay for an $8.5 million project to extend the Wayne Executive Jetport runway to 8,000 feet.
A new elementary and middle school are planned for northern Wayne County at a cost of $29.6 million.
The Hocutt Building on the WCC campus is in line for a $4.1 million addition (Applied Technology classrooms and labs) and renovations.
In 2020-2, the final $400,000 emergency medical services satellite location is planned. And the following year, the WCC Pine Building would have an addition (nursing and public safety classrooms and labs) and renovations totaling $17.3 million.