School board approves Owens as construction consultant for bond projects


BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Education approved Thomas S. Owens, president of Owens Construction Inc. of Beaufort, as the construction consultant for classroom additions and renovations funded by a $42 million bond referendum approved in November 2020.

Mr. Owens, a general contractor, replaces former consultant Keith Maready, who retired Dec. 31.

Board members approved the contract with Mr. Owens as part of the consent agenda during their meeting Tuesday in Beaufort. Mr. Owens did not attend the meeting and board members did not comment regarding the hire.

School district communications director Jennifer Johnson said in an email statement late Thursday, “There was an application process, interviews were conducted, and he was chosen because we thought he was the most qualified and the best fit.”

Mr. Owens could not be reached for comment following the meeting.

The contract states that the consultant will “provide BOE construction consultation and inspection services for new construction, renovations, and/or miscellaneous work, at most public school campuses in Carteret County funded by school bonds approved by the citizens of Carteret County in November 2020.”

The agreement calls for Mr. Owens to begin work no later than Jan. 3, and continue until projects are complete. The BOE and Mr. Owens each have the right to terminate the contract at any time, without cause, on 30 days’ prior written notice.

The consultant will receive $100,000 per year, to be paid in monthly installments of $8,333.33 in arrears. Funds will come from bond proceeds, according to school finance officer Kathy Carswell.

If the board needs additional services to assist with the mitigation of damages or repairs to school facilities from hurricanes or other disasters, the BOE and consultant would contract separately.

According to, Owens Construction, founded as a commercial construction company in 1999, is a full service residential, commercial and industrial contractor.

In other action during the regular meeting, the board:

·     Approved a $637,047 budget revision that adjusts the 2021-22 county school system’s operating and capital budget due to receiving additional federal funds, appropriating school bond carryover money and reserved fund balance for special grants and programs.

·     Met in closed session to consider a confidential personnel matter, with no action taken in open session.

·     Announced that the board will take public comments regarding the school system’s 2022-23 budget during its Tuesday, Feb. 1, meeting. Comments will also be accepted via email until noon the day of the board meeting at

·     Proclaimed January School Board Appreciation Month.

·     Received several policy revisions for first reading.

·     Received updates on school bond projects, including that the new roof over the Newport Elementary School cafeteria is complete and the bid opening for the East Carteret High School auxiliary gym/shelter was moved until Wednesday, Jan. 12, due to the holidays.

Under the consent agenda, the board:

·     Approved the surplus of three choppers and four mixers from the child nutrition program due to age. Down East Food Equipment Solutions has offered $2,000 each for the HCM450 choppers and $750 each for the D300 mixers. The money will go back to the child nutrition program.

·     Approved school advisory board recommendations.

·     Approved personnel matters.

·     Approved student transfers.


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


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