Monday, 07 August 2017 15:09

College, two school systems get funding attention from commissioners

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Halifax County commissioners today endorsed a request from Halifax Community College on how the school intends to use its $6.519 million Connect NC Bond award.

The panel also approved a request from the Halifax County School System for a new air conditioning system at Southeast Halifax High School through use of lottery funds.

The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District made a request for funding for the continued plans to develop the armory at the high school as an early college. A portion of the request would be from lottery funds and another portion would be from capital outlay.

The city school system also requested release of lottery funds to buy land adjacent to the new Manning school site to expand parking.

The board approved the RRGSD requests.




College President Michael Elam and Michael Felt, chair of the HCC board of trustees, made the Connect NC Bond request to commissioners.

In a July 3 letter to the board, Felt outlined the intended use of the funds.

“The plan for expending the money was spread between much needed infrastructural work and to construct a multiple purpose building to house our Advanced Manufacturing Technology curriculum programs, including the Automotive Technology, Industrial Systems Technology and Welding Technology programs.”

Felt said in the letter the college proposes to construct what he termed as “state of the art” sustainable labs and offices for each program. “Additionally, we propose to include several continuing education classrooms in which several types of short-term training can be held depending on the needs of the local business and industry community.”

He noted the proposed 25,000-square-foot building would include a computer lab shared by all stated curriculum programs and for short-term business and industry planning.

About $3.7 million of the bond funds is targeted for new building construction. HCC has applied for an Economic Development Association grant for the remaining $2 million needed for construction.

The college is not requesting money from the county, Felt said in the letter, but does need board concurrence to obtain state approval for the new construction. “If the $2 million EDA grant is not awarded, we will suspend our plan and divert the money originally targeted for new construction to other infrastructural areas.”

Once the building is complete, the county would agree to pay for additional environmental expenses incurred, funds which are already being budgeted and allotted for the college. Those expenses include electric, gas, water, telecommunications, maintenance and housekeeping.

Meanwhile, the college said it is investigating Energy Performance Contracting as a way to help reduce campus-wide operating expenses. “We have already met with Chairman (Vernon) Bryant and County Manager Tony Brown to present our interest and benefits to HCC and Halifax County,” Felt said in the letter. “The contract can dramatically reduce overall environmental costs by creating a comprehensive energy solution which includes campus-wide HVAC/electric plans and installing energy efficient systems. These systems would be paid for out of guaranteed savings from utility expenses currently being paid.”


Halifax County Schools


Superintendent Eric Cunningham and Director of School Operations Tony Alston requested lottery funding in the amount of $30,000.

Alston said in a July 19 letter to Brown, the funds would be used to replace a failing 12.5-ton air conditioning unit at Southeast.




Superintendent Dain Butler made two requests regarding the Armory-early college project.

The first was the release of lottery funds for architect and design services in the amount of $30,000.

The second request for that project was to use $250,000 in capital outlay funds previously transferred and earmarked for new construction of the early college and instead use the money  for renovation of the Armory.

Answering a question posed by Commissioner Rives Manning, Butler said the school’s JROTC program would be moved to the junior building if plans for the early college go through, but cadets would still use the Armory gym and storage areas.

The Roanoke Rapids school board opted last month to go with renovating the Armory for the early college project.

A third request by Butler was to use lottery funds to buy a parcel of land owned by William Green Jr. to expand parking for the new Manning school.

The price of the land is $100,000 plus closing costs for a total requested amount of $110,000.

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