Carteret County fronts money for bond work, planning to begin at several schools

Morehead City Elementary School students walk outside to load buses during a previous school year. Thanks to the passage of a $42 million school bond referendum last fall, MES and several other Carteret County schools will receive covered walkways to protect students as they make their way to buses. (Cheryl Burke photo)

BEAUFORT — Carteret County school officials continue to prepare for facilities improvement projects included in a $42 million school bond voters approved in November.

Assistant Superintendent Richard Paylor, who is helping oversee projects, said during the Feb. 2 school board meeting the search for an architect is underway and a selection will be made as soon as possible.

In addition, county commissioners approved fronting $950,560 to the County Board of Education to get some projects started while the bonds are being sold.

“The county is using its fund balance to fund this,” County Finance Officer Dee Meshaw said. “When the bonds are sold, the County’s General Fund will be reimbursed the amount it has upfronted.”

Mr. Paylor said a bond committee and construction consultant Keith Maready have developed a priority list to determine which projects are tackled first.

“Each project has a different planning process, depending on the size of the project and if the project requires permitting, engineering or architectural design,” Mr. Paylor said. “Other factors taken into consideration when making a schedule of work include climate and interruption to student learning. For example, work on parking areas and tennis courts is not scheduled in the cold, winter months, and, as much as possible, construction projects that are inside existing classroom areas will take place when students are not in the buildings.”

The first projects to be addressed are:

  • Installation of new interior doors at Atlantic Elementary School.
  • Construction of a covered walkway from the cafeteria to the student drop off area at Beaufort Middle School.
  • Construction of a covered walkway to the bus parking lot at Bogue Sound Elementary School.
  • Planning for 16-classroom addition and an auxiliary gym at Croatan High School.
  • Construction of a covered walkway to the student drop off area and to the bus drop off area at Down East Middle/Smyrna Elementary School.
  • Planning for construction of an auxiliary gym at East Carteret High School.
  • Construction of a front entrance canopy and walkway, replacement of interior doors and construction of a covered walkway to bus lot at Harkers Island Elementary School.
  • Construction of covered walkway to bus parking lot at Morehead City Elementary School.
  • Construction of a covered walkway to student drop off area at Morehead City Middle School.
  • Construction of a new roof on cafeteria and a covered walkway at the main entrance of Newport Elementary School.
  • Construction of a covered walkway to drop-off area at Newport Middle School.
  • Installation of new interior doors and planning for construction of auxiliary gym and a six-classroom addition at West Carteret High School.
  • Planning for new gymnatorium at White Oak Elementary School.
  • Install security doors and new intercom systems at all schools.

Many items still remain that aren’t included in the priority list. Among those are a 14-classroom addition at Broad Creek Middle School, construction of new tennis courts at CHS, HVAC renovations at several schools and the purchase of land in the western part of the county for a new elementary school due to overcrowding at WOES.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson thanked residents for passing the bond referendum and said it will take time to get all projects completed.

“The citizens of Carteret County recognized the need for construction and renovation at campuses across the county and, for that, we are grateful,” he said. “We are carefully planning and want to make sure that every dollar is invested wisely.”

He added that the funds from the bond referendum can only be used for construction and renovation projects, not operational costs.

 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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