LAURINBURG − The Scotland County Board of Commissioners put the final pieces of three school expansion projects into play this week.
The board approved a resolution on Tuesday to take possession of Sycamore Lane and Laurel Hill Elementary Schools in order to prepare for construction of additions at the new schools. The county will take possession of Laurel Hill for the duration of construction, and the school will be returned to the school system when the expansion is complete. Sycamore Lane will be used as collateral for the approximately $14 million loan.
The county will take possession of Laurel Hill for the duration of construction, and the school will be returned to the school system when the expansion is complete. Sycamore Lane will be used as collateral for the approximately $14 million loan.
The funding for the new additions is part of a loan program not to exceed $27 million that includes refinancing the current water bond and funding for the renovation of the Morgan Center building on Peden Street that will serve as a part of the Richmond Community College Campus.
The board opened bids for the project on Aug. 31 and received three bids. Hawks Builders of Rockingham had the lowest bid for the project at $1.9 million. The total cost of the project is expected to be $2.84 million including $329,433 to repave the parking lot, $19,123 to cover changes to the interior including removing the plastic coating on the walls and handrails in the halls and $27,230 IT cabling, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson.
Hawks Builders of Rockingham had the lowest bid for the project at $1.9 million. The total cost of the project is expected to be $2.84 million including $329,433 to repave the parking lot, $19,123 to cover changes to the interior including removing the plastic coating on the walls and handrails in the halls and $27,230 IT cabling, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson.
The debt must still be approved by the Local Government Commission on Sept. 23.
In a related matter, Larry Johnson, assistant superintendent of auxiliary service, for asked the board to give the school system the authority to send pictures and videos from stop-arm cameras on school buses to the sheriff’s office to help catch offenders. The school system also wants to increase fines to a $400 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense and $1,000 a third offense.
“I have met with Sheriff Kersey as well as Chief Williams and also the school board in reference to support this, and those individuals feel that it is very important to have this in place,” Johnson said.
The resolution passed unanimously.
In other business, Chief Deputy Lloyd Goins of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, asked the county to pass a measure requiring local scrap yards to join the free LEADS Online Program to assist the sheriff’s office in tracking down stolen items.
The program would save the county in time and fuel by reducing the need for deputies to travel to track down property. Laurinburg already participates in the program.
Goins also told the board that the sheriff’s office had evidence stored in several places across the county and that the sheriff’s office had reached out to Lee Howell, owner of Scotland Motors, to lease a building for $550 a month.
“We have evidence in an impound lot that’s outside,” Goins said. “We’ve got vehicles out there that were involved in murders that we can’t do anything with them, and if the person that was convicted of the crime that involved the vehicle, if the appeal process went through to trial, we cannot produce that vehicle in the shape it was 20 years ago”
Commissioner Clarence McPhatter said securing an empty county building may be a better solution.
“I would like to see us utilize a building that Scotland County already owns like an empty school building,” McPhatter said. “Let’s be real. We’re dealing with taxpayer money. We’re basically giving these empty school buildings away.”
The requests were tabled while the county looks at the legal issues pertaining to Leads Online and looks for other solutions to evidence storage.
Also on Tuesday, Sara Stroud, CEO of Easpointe, gave the board an update on the number of residents helped by the service.
Stroud said Eastpoint helped 1,817 Scotland County residents on Medicaid and 358 indigent residents while serving 1,314 county residents with its call centers in 2016. The program provides mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling and assistance for those with developmental and intellectual delays.
The commissioners also voted to:
— Receive $112,275 from state Department of Transportation to replace two buses in the SCATS fleet and passed a resolution to contract with the DOT for replacement of the buses.
— Accept additional funding for Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program in the amount of $4,958,
— Accept additional funding for WIC in the amount of $4085;
— Accept additional funding for Crisis Intervention Program energy assistance funding in the amount of $23,264 to aid those with a heating or cooling emergency.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169