LAURINBURG — Construction bids for the county’s new elementary school had to be delayed by a week after only two contractors submitted bids.
The district must have a minimum of three bids on the first round in order to move forward with the project.
“We will re-advertise the project and within seven days of the re-advertisement we will re-open the bids and at that time we can open one, two, three or as many as comes in,” architect Randy Baker told WLNC.
Bids will be reopened next Thursday, July 5 at 3 p.m.
“It’s disappointing that we did not get to move the process forward, but we certainly understand,” said Superintendent Ron Hargrave.
During a committee meeting earlier this week Hargrave warned the board of education this could happen. When the district held an interest meeting, Hargrave said only two contractors attended, but another called in directly for information.
If enough bids are received, the board will award the project at their monthly meeting on July 9.
Interim board attorney Eva DuBuisson informed the board they would be able to approve bids on July 9, but would have to wait until their Committee of the Whole meeting later in the month to approve the project as a whole.
“When the county does financing of this type and they acquire land for school system purposes they have to hold a public hearing,” said DuBuisson. “They have scheduled that for July 9, which is also the day you are scheduled to meet. Assuming that goes fine, they will approve the overall project, then we get together and approve the project.”
DuBuisson said the board can give final approval of the project during their July 23 meeting and move ahead with submitting the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC).
“I participated in a call with the attorneys working on the financing for the new school and they are, assuming we’re able to get and approve bids, on target to submit the application to the LGC in July which would allow us to be taken up for approval at the Aug. 7 meeting,” she explained.
There is legislation in place that prevents the school board from approving the project prior to the county holding a public hearing and voting on the matter.
“We have to wait until they finish their process first,” DuBuisson said. “We can approve bids on July 9, but there is a resolution in place that you have to meet after the county approves the project.”
The school board members voted to move their regular monthly meeting to 5 p.m. in order to have representatives present at the county’s public hearing to advocate for the new school.
“If everything goes, reasonably, according to plan they are looking to have the financing in place and closed by the first week of September,” DuBuisson said.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]