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A look at some central office facts

Editor’s note: This is excerpted from a document that has been sent to public officials and others regarding the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s central office.

By Randy Hemann
1. Cost of the (proposed Main Street) building
The proposed cost of the building is $6,334,818 for 48,818 square feet or $129.76 per square foot. This does not include the dome, which will either be paid for with private funds or not constructed.
Private donations of $250,000 (for furniture) at the downtown site have been pledged. The potential exists for a donation of approximately $200,000 for construction of the dome. Public dollars will not be used to fund the dome and it will not be constructed unless a donor steps forward.
The interest rate is very low now. Originally budgeted at 4 percent, the rate will be less than 2 percent if the project moves forward now. This interest rate drop will cut the interest by 50 percent over the life of the loan. That lower rate will save an additional $125,000 in the first year alone!
How does this compare to other recent county building projects?
— The new 911 Center was $168 per square foot.
— The last classroom at Rowan Cabarrus Community College was $196 per square foot (it was LEED-certified and will operate efficiently over the life of the building).
— The Department of Social Services Building was around $118 per square foot.
— The county jail was around $165 per squaare foot.
— The proposed airport hanger with the estimated cost of a fire suppression system will be around $107 per square foot (metal building)
The bid from Summit Builders for the central office is $129.75 per square foot, which is less than anticipated. …
Size of the building
RSSS offices currently occupy over 52,000 square feet. The optimal size and the original proposal was for 62,000 square feet
The proposal was criticized for being too big when it was proposed, and it was criticized for being too small after it was reduced.
The size of the current building is a function of the $6 million borrowing limit.
Other recent proposals that are mentioned do not contain adequate square footage. The former DSS Building is 27,000 square feet.

The state of the downtown
Downtown Salisbury has been nationally recognized as a vibrant downtown. Since 1980 over $119 million has been invested in the downtown.
The downtown contains 140 living units … (and) is a center for the arts, with three performing arts venues with a total of over 700 seats.
The downtown is a center for retail with an occupancy range above 90 percent.
Thirty downtown retailers have been in existence for more than 15 years
The downtown is the largest collection of office space in the county … (and ) is the center of government for Salisbury and Rowan County.

Randy Hemann is executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc.

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