LAURINBURG — With the school year coming up rapidly the local Board of Education heard updates on the current phases of the school consolidation on Monday.
Superintendent Ron Hargrave gave the update on the current work being done Laurel Hill and Sycamore Lane Elementary schools. The construction at both schools is part of Phase II of consolidation which will close Covington Street and North Laurinburg Elementary schools and divide those students up and move them into Sycamore Lane and Laurel Hill.
Hargrave reported that Laurel Hill should be turned over by the end of the week to allow for furniture to be set up, as well as allowing teachers in to decorate their classrooms.
Currently, the tile work is being completed, which leaves the cabinets.
“We expect all the teachers to have limited access to the classrooms and there may still be some work that may be going on in the newer classrooms,” Hargrave explained. “The cabinetry is the issue right now, getting that put up on the walls. But in terms of being able to get furniture in the rooms and being able to get the rooms set up once we get the building turned over to us then we’ll be able to do that. We don’t see any reason right now why the building wouldn’t be turned over to us.”
The gym for Laurel Hill, however, is going to take little longer to complete. The gym has been completely dried out with the roof recently completed, but the inside will take a bit longer to finish.
The furniture from North Laurinburg Elementary has already been moved to Laurel Hill and the playground equipment is being moved within the week.
As for the progress of Sycamore Lane Elementary, Hargrave said that, while it had been a concern, the cafeteria would be completed before the first day of school. Hargrave also said the paving part of the project should be done soon as long as there isn’t rain, since it had to have three days of no rain to set.
Sycamore Lane fell behind schedule with construction but is slated to be finished in late September or early October.
Laurel Hill added 18 classrooms and a new gym, while Sycamore Lane added two additions with 10 classrooms each and a four-classroom addition in the middle of the building. The Laurel Hill project cost $5.99 million while Sycamore Lane cost $6.85 million.
Hargrave also gave an update on the potential timeline of the new elementary school for Phase III of consolidation. The new school will house students from I. Ellis Johnson Elementary and South Scotland Elementary. Recently the North Carolina Local Government Commission voted to go ahead with the project allowing the county to open bids for the general obligation bonds which will finance the building of the school.
“Bond sale is moving forward and is in the process of being sold by the end of this month that process will move forward,” Hargrave said. “I think they have a two-week time limit for the bonds to sell. Then once that’s done we’re ready to turn some dirt.”
If the bonds are sold by the end of the month dirt can start behind turned and construction can start as early as the first week of September.
In other business
— The board agreed to revise the use of the school for funerals opening it from just current students to adding on current employees and retired personnel.
— Cory Satterfield, assistant superintendent of human resources, gave an update on teachers and vacancies. Currently, there are seven certified vacancies. The new teacher training started on Monday and will go through the rest of the week.
— Shaw Academy’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year Vondia Yvette Caple was highlighted as the video “teacher feature” for the board.
— The finance department received two awards from the Department of Public Instruction in July for the way information is sent.
Katelin Gandee can be reached at 910-506-3171 or [email protected]