LAURINBURG — School officials moved forward with Phase III of consolidation during their monthly meeting Monday awarding the bid for the construction of the new elementary school.
The Scotland County Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to accept the base bid of $22.42 million from FBI Construction out of Florence, S.C., for the county’s new 114,000-square-foot school.
Larry Johnson, assistant superintendent of auxiliary services, presented the board with two bids — one from FBI and the other from J.M. Thompson Construction out of Cary for $22.86 million. The bids were submitted last Thursday for consideration.
The board also accepted two alternate bids from FBI Construction for terrazzo flooring in the hallways and cafeteria along with direct digital control systems. The terrazzo flooring will last the lifetime of the school, according to architect Randy Baker, at an additional cost of $331,000. The digital control system will be an additional $154,000 bringing the estimated cost of the project to $22.9 million.
The board will not enter into a legally binding contract until the financing of the project has been fully approved by the county, according to interim board attorney Eva DuBuisson. The county held a public hearing on the issue Monday, but nobody came forward to speak for or against.
“There is an overall process of approving the construction of the building through the county,” she explained. “Then you (the board) as well will be entering into an agreement with the county, as far as authorizing you to accept construction contacts so we’ve agreed to do that at our next meeting since the county is holding it’s public hearing.”
FBI Construction is currently working on the additions to Laurel Hill Elementary School and has a relationship with local contractors, which the board felt gave them a slight edge along with submitting a lower bid.
The contractor will be using local and area sub-contractors for the HVAC, electrical, plumbing and site work for the project. Simmons One Hour Heating and Air of Laurinburg will be doing the HVAC at an estimated cost of $1.699 million while Hudson Paving out of Richmond County will do the site work. Hudson is estimating the project will cost $3.70 million.
The plumbing will be contracted to Smith Plumbing out of Lumberton at an estimated cost of $897,158 and the electrical work will be done by M-W Electrical Construction out of Red Springs for $2.42 million.
“We’ve been very pleased with them (FBI Construction) and the job they’ve done out at Laurel Hill,” said Johnson.
The school board purchased the 29-acre property for $225,000 in June from property owner Bill Moser.
Before the purchase could be finalized, mpney had to be allocated by the county commissioners and the plot of land was rezoned from residential to office/industrial in March following a unanimous approval from Laurinburg City Council — despite initial push back., which required the approval of the Laurinburg Planning Board and city.
In February, the Laurinburg Planning Board planning board voted 4-2 to approve the rezoning request from Moser. City council voted 3-2 in favor of the rezoning, but in order to pass a majority vote was required.
The rezoning request appeared on council’s agenda again in March and was unanimously approved, despite push back from Attorney Michael Floyd, Mayor Matthew Block, and Councilwoman Mary Evans.
The trio expressed concerns about the school being located in close proximity to Helena Chemicals. The company, which creates a variety of fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals, operates a distribution plant in Laurinburg located at 17321 Harry Malloy Road.
The site of the new school is 0.8 miles from Helena. One of the schools it would replace — South Scotland Elementary School — is 1.2 miles from the plant. The other school, I. Ellis Johnson Elementary, sits 3.4 miles away.
Students from South Scotland and I. Ellis Johnson will be consolidated and moved into the new elementary school once it’s completed.
Construction of the new school will take between 16 to 18 months, which means the original timeline of the new school opening for the start of the 2019-20 school year had to be pushed back.
The new completion date will likely be the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]