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Halifax County Schools has reported a nearly $12 million shortfall between the funds it received through a state grant and the total cost of building a Pre-K through 8 school on the property of the former Eastman school.

The school system had reported in a press release issued Wednesday that during updates in community forums on January 24 and Monday John Witcher of Bordeaux Construction unveiled a guaranteed  maximum price for the project of $47,534,579 with a total project cost of $52,973,051.

The school system had received a $39,083,000 Needs-based Public School Capital Fund grant and with the county’s matching fund of $2,057,000 had a total of $41,140,000 for the project.

However, there still remains an $11,833,051 deficit.

As it stands now, the demolition of the former Eastman school has been put on hold.

In follow-up questions regarding the situation, the school system said today this delay is expected to postpone the project from fall 2025 to January 2026.

The school system is seeking a Supplemental Grant Application from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction which is intended to support the school system while demolition has been put on hold, the school system in the follow-up questions submitted by rrspin.com. “Our focus remains on the grant application, and we're optimistic about its approval.”

The system is seeking $12 million and the grant will require a 5 percent match.

The decision to pause demolition, the school system said, ensures eligibility for the grant, which would have been voided had construction commenced.

The school system said “while there's always the possibility of scaling back a project, our current commitment is to deliver the school that our community truly deserves.”

The school system will communicate the issue with county commissioners if necessary.

Meanwhile, the school system has also addressed the debris in front of the school resulting from an asbestos project. To address this issue, the contractors have taken action by placing dumpsters onsite to commence the clean-up process. “Superintendent Dr. Eric Cunningham promptly acknowledged these concerns and proactively contacted the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. As a result, written permission has been obtained to address the area without compromising the grant's integrity.”

Said Cunningham: "Throughout this process, we've remained dedicated to transparency and community involvement. The feedback and concerns raised by our stakeholders are invaluable, and we are committed to addressing them every step of the way."