07/17/14 — Loans for new schools signed

View Archive

Loans for new schools signed

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 17, 2014 1:46 PM

Ground could be broken as early as August for new middle schools that will be build in the Grantham and Spring Creek communities.

"It has taken many years to get this far," Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Taylor said just moments after paperwork finalizing a $38.452 million loan for the work was signed Tuesday. "We are excited, and we thank you for bringing this to fruition. Now I am ready to see some dirt turned and some buildings put up."

Wayne County Commissioner Ray Mayo jokingly asked Taylor if the rumor he had heard was true -- that Taylor wasn't going to retire until the schools are completed.

"That is what I said," Taylor said. "I've had to wait this long. I don't want anybody else to cut the ribbon. I'll have a little something to say about that."

The loan closing was held in the commissioners' conference room that was packed with county and school officials. The table was lined with stacks of documents that had to be signed by commission Chairman Wayne Aycock and others.

"This is a historical moment for Wayne County," Aycock said. "I want to thank the school board and the board of commissioners and the other appropriate people who were involved, the attorneys, just everybody who has been involved."

Aycock and Taylor said it had taken a lot of hard work on everyone's part to reach this point.

"It is a great opportunity for Wayne County," Aycock said. "It is great to live in country where the two boards can sit down, and Dr. Taylor you will agree, we didn't always agree, but we came to a happy medium and made this happen."

Earlier in their meeting, commissioners made a last-minute change to the school project before adopting a capital project ordinance for fiscal years 2015-17.

The ordinance means that the project appropriations do not lapse at the end of the year and do not have to be reappropriated year after year. Instead, the funds are available during the duration of the project, unless amended by board action.

At the board's last meeting, several commissioners had questioned the school board's plan to use epoxy terrazzo flooring instead of the cheaper vinyl tile.

They also questioned the cost of a "solar tree" at each school as a way to advertise that the schools are high efficiency and would get their electricity from solar power. An attractive sign would accomplish the same goal, but at a much cheaper cost, commissioners said. On Tuesday, commissioners voted to eliminate the solar trees, thereby saving $148,000.

However, the more costly flooring was left in. County Manager George Wood and Facilities Director Milford Smith said that while the county would pay more up front for the epoxy terrazzo flooring -- about $450,000 -- that it would last longer and require next to no maintenance compared to the vinyl flooring.

Also during the meeting, commissioners approved a budget amendment for $12.3 million in renovations at central attendance area schools, and at Charles B. Aycock High and Spring Creek Elementary schools.

Daughtery asked Wood if he knew what the timetable is for those projects. He expressed some concern that there seemed to be little movement on them to date.

Wood asked Taylor following the loan closing about the timeline for the projects.

Taylor said that officials from Mosely, the company designing the projects, had made a presentation at the school board's most recent session concerning Charles B. Aycock High School.

Aycock is the "toughest" to tackle because it has to tie into the existing school.

The board's Facilities Committee will review plans when it meets Monday including revisions to classrooms at Spring Creek Elementary School, he said.

"He is in the design phase now," Taylor said. "Obviously we won't get it done this year, but it will be sometime next year when everything is completed. We have not gone out for bid or anything yet. We are trying to finalize the exact plan that the board wants to put into place, design plans. Then we will be ready to go."