Rowan commissioners to consider grant application for Knox-Overton project

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 20, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday will consider approving a grant application to help Rowan-Salisbury Schools move forward with plans for a combined Knox-Overton K-8 school.

At a Board of Education meeting earlier this month, the project’s contractor said estimates for the K-8 school have increased to $69.6 million — more than $14 million above the original price tag. The project has been in the works for several years after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To offset the increased cost of the project, the district is planning to apply for a grant from the state’s Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund. The district could receive up to $40 million through the grant program.

Before the district can submit a grant application, it needs approval from the Board of Commissioners. The application has already been approved by the Board of Education.

The Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting can be joined virtually at bit.ly/rowanboc6pm by using password 028144 or by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• Rowan Airport and Transit Director Valerie Steele will request approval to use $2 million in funding to replace components of the airport’s instrument landing system and to finish the glideslope project that was started but never completed.

The instrument landing system is a precision runway approach aid that helps planes land. Without a properly functioning system, Steele said in a memo that the airport could lose tenants and would have to reduce the number of flights. The $2 million in funding would come from the $5 million in capital and infrastructure funds allocated to the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport by the state.

• The board will consider authorizing the use of $74,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for five temporary staff members for the Department of Social Services. The request for the money comes from Social Services Director Micah Ennis, who said in a memo to commissioners that the department has struggled with employee absences due to COVID-19. The funding would fund the five positions through June.

• Commissioners will hold a public hearing for a request from Deborah Wright for a special use permit to accommodate an event center and rental cabins on her property at 3425 Organ Church Road.

• Commissioners will consider accepting a $75,000 grant from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences that will be used by Rowan Wild to pay for facility maintenance and improvement, educational staffing and education supplies and advertising. The grant has been awarded for two years. Therefore, Rowan wild will receive a second $75,000 grant next year.

• The board will consider authorizing the transfer of the two light transit vehicles formerly utilized for Rowan Express to a qualified transit system. The two vehicles have not been used by the county since Rowan Express was discontinued on July 1, 2021, and Rowan Transit has no plans to use them in the future. If commissioners approve the transfer of the vehicles, which would not include an exchange of funds, Rowan Transit’s fleet would be reduced to 26 vehicles.

• The board will consider approving an agreement between the county and Motorola Solutions for radio system services for the Emergency Services Department. The county will pay Motorola Solutions $1.4 million through June 30, 2027.

• Commissioners will consider approving and signing a letter of support for Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation to apply for USDA broadband funding. If awarded, the funding would allow the company to expand fiber to the home broadband in northern Rowan County.

• Commissioners will consider approving the purchase of 149 automated external defibrillators and 25 cardiac monitors for $1.3 million. The county will distribute 140 of the defibrillators to volunteer fire stations throughout the county.

• The board will hold a public hearing regarding the county’s use of $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grant for Economic Development funds to extend 5,145 linear feet of sewer line to the Chewy facility. The project is complete and the public hearing will close out the process.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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