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School board OKs contracts, lease for western elementary school

 

SALISBURY — The long road to the new western elementary school is coming to a close at last.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education on Monday approved several items of paperwork in preparation for closing on the site for the future school in Cleveland.

Board members Dean Hunter and Travis Allen were absent from the meeting, which, at just 15 minutes in length, may have set a record for the shortest school board meeting.

A new elementary school that would merge the current Cleveland and Woodleaf elementaries has been discussed since 2008. In 2014, the Board of Education moved forward with the idea and began looking for a site for the new school. Land was found about a year ago — a roughly 40-acre parcel directly behind the current Cleveland Elementary School, in the Cleveland town limits.

The deal for the parcel includes a small property swap with the Cleveland Fire Department, whose land abuts that of the planned school. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann said the closing is set for Thursday.

The new school will be more than 100,000 square feet and be capable of housing more than 800 students.

Monday’s brief meeting was for the board to give final approval for a deed with Rowan County and the contract for the construction manager at Risk, Barnhill Inc.

“It’s not the final step, but it’s a final step,” board Chairman Josh Wagner said of the paperwork.

In June, Barnhill submitted a guaranteed maximum price of $22.8 million for construction of the building. Vann estimated that another $5 million would cover architectural design, land purchase, testing, furniture and other building equipment, bringing the total price up to $27.8 million.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners previously approved $27.5 million for the new school, leaving roughly $330,000 needed for the project. The board previously agreed to pay the remainder out of its fund balance.

The loan will be repaid over 12 years, plus interest. One of the documents discussed at Monday’s meeting was a deed that will put the property in the county’s name until the loan is fully repaid. The board will rent the property for a nominal fee of $100 for the full term of the agreement.

Vann said the project could not have come this far without dedicated teamwork from both the school system and the county.

“I think it really shows us that when we work together as a team this is possible — building a school like this is possible,” he said.

All documents and agreements were unanimously approved.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will hold its next meeting, a monthly work session, at 1 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Wallace Educational Forum board room, 500 N. Main St.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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