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BOE approves furniture for new central office building

The Rowan-Salisbury School System’s new central office building will finally have some furniture.

After a relatively short discussion, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education approved the furniture, partition and installation costs for all three floors of the Wallace Educational Forum during Monday’s meeting.

The furniture costs were approved with the additional option of Hon Motivate chairs for the upper floor training rooms.

The total cost, including taxes, is about $369,258. The training room chair option added about $19,661 to the total.

The vote was 5-2, with board members Travis Allen and Chuck Hughes voting against.

The whole discussion lasted about 10 minutes.

Chairman Josh Wagner said because the board was fine with the furniture committee’s recommendations, there was no need for much discussion.

“There really wasn’t a lot to talk about,” he said.

Allen said regardless of his vote, the furniture committee worked hard to cut costs wherever possible and kept comfort in mind when they could.

“(The furniture committee) did due diligence in choosing products that were good, that are what our employees liked, what was maybe not some of the high-end stuff and not some of the low-end stuff,” Allen said during the meeting. “They just didn’t go frivolous with this report.”

Anthony Vann, assistant superintendent of operations, said they would be taking some furniture from the old buildings, like chairs, bookcases and conference tables.

Wagner said the Hon Motivate chairs were for staff who will be working in the new building, not board members.

“Because staff is going to be spending so much time in those chairs, they said we think it makes more sense to spend a little bit more money for them to be comfortable,” he said.

Wagner also said the board was previously offered about $20,000 for a new desk for meetings, but turned that down.

“If anything, you could say we basically decided not to spend any money. We’re going to take our desk and our chairs from where we are, and then utilize that money and give it to staff and let them use it,” he said.

Hughes said he thought there were many furniture items that could have been taken with them to the new building.

“I’m concerned about the items we’ve left behind,” he said at the meeting.

Hughes wanted to vote for the partitions and furniture separately because he felt that he could vote positively for the partitions but not for the furniture.

“It was more of a vote of principle than the actual value of the vote,” he said.

Hughes said the cost of the furniture was fairly conservative, but he did not agree with the use of the funds.

“It was because we were using money that would actually go toward the cost of the central office building that would fall on the taxpayers’ shoulders,” he said.

Back in July, funds provided by the Robertson Family Foundation were supposed to be used for furniture, but that money was reallocated to help get the office built. The board designated about $500,000 from the district’s capital budget for furniture in August.

Vice Chairman Dean Hunter pointed out during the meeting that the total would be offset by the $86,000 donated by Ralph Ketner, founder of Food Lion.

Wagner said that he was not happy about spending money, but he knew it had to be done.

“I also understand that you can’t have a building and expect employees to work in the building without furniture and things like that,” he said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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