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Study puts school office tab at $5 million-$7 million

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
A feasibility study puts the cost of transforming the former Winn-Dixie building into a school administration building at between $2.8 million and $4.6 million.
That would be in addition to the cost of buying the property on Jake Alexander Boulevard that has been priced at $2.5 million. Adding in the purchase of the building, the price tag runs between $5.3 million and $7.1 million.
The Charlotte-based engineering and construction firm that did the study estimates the project could be completed in less than year.
In October, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved doing a study to determine the feasibility and costs of converting the former grocery store to a central office that would house 155 school administrative employees now spread among four locations.
On Wednesday, SC Hondros & Associates provided county officials with an extensive review of the former grocery store building and what it will take to convert it to offices for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
The study provides two scenarios. The first involves renovating and upfitting the existing 50,415 square feet. That is projected to cost $2.8 million.
The second scenario, which is favored by school officials, includes all of the work in the first scenario, plus the addition of a two-story 16,000 square foot addition. The projected cost of the second scenario is $4.6 million.
As outlined in the study, Scenario 1 would allow all personnel housed at Long Street, Ellis Street and Corporate Square to move to the new facility but would keep Horizons Unlimited open. Scenario 2 would move all employees to the Jake Alexander location, including Horizons Unlimited staff.
Hondros recommends a new roof for the existing building at a cost of $186,000 and asbestos removal at a cost of $42,000. Those costs aren’t included in the project cost.
The study also notes that furniture, cubicles, equipment and signage would be additional costs.
Hondros, which has done design and build projects for school systems, including the Cabarrus County School administration building, estimates that the project could be completed within one year.
Commissioners and the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education have discussed sharing the cost of the project but have made no firm commitment.
Several weeks ago, a majority of the board appeared supportive of going forward with a school office project; however, County Manager Gary Page did not include it in his list of priority projects, given the economic problems and expected revenue shortfalls.
Since the last discussions, two new commissioners have joined the board, Carl Ford and Raymond Coltrain.
County commissioners are scheduled to discuss the feasibility study at their meeting Monday at 4 p.m.
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You may contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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