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Princeville school repairs OK'd

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Board of Education held a special called meeting Monday to approve plans for renovations to Princeville Elementary School and a professional development building in Princeville.

The repairs, when complete, will restore these buildings that have not been occupied since they were flooded during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The work on the buildings will not only encompass needed repairs but will also include flood mitigation measures that should lessen the structural damage to the buildings should another flood occur in the future.

“I think it is important that we include these measures because I feel that the buildings will likely be flooded again,” said Ann Kent, vice chairwoman of the Edgecombe County Board of Education.

This damage done to Princeville Elementary School marked the second time in 20 years that the school had been flooded. The present Princeville Elementary School building was constructed with funds made available after Hurricane Floyd destroyed the previous building in September 1999.

Princeville Elementary School students have been meeting in the Bridgers Buillding in Tarboro.

This time, the Princeville Elementary School reconstruction will feature a number of new elements including polished concrete floors, flood vents in exterior walls, higher grade moisture-proof drywall and platforms to place the HVAC unit, freezer and condensing units above the flood line.

Many of these hazard mitigation features were recommended to the school district by FEMA, which is covering the $2,800,000 mitigation costs plus another $1,000,000 to cover the contents of the school lost during the flood. Insurance on the building will cover another $1,990,000 for the cost of repairs, bringing the total funding for the project to $5,790,000. Jerome Williams, the new director of maintenance for Edgecombe County Public Schools, told board members Monday.

The lowest bid for the project is $6,179,249, a difference of nearly $400,000, Williams said.

To make up the difference, the school district plans to file an Unmet Needs Claim with the state of North Carolina.

“After our claim is reviewed, FEMA and the state of North Carolina will decide who will pay the unmet need,” Williams said, adding that he was confident the amount would be covered.

Construction is set to begin mid-March and Williams said the goal is to have the school ready for students by January 2020.

Williams had better news for the school board concerning plans for the professional development building. Repairs and hazard mitigation upgrades to that building are slated to be complete within 45 days.

The school district should receive $171,445 for that project — roughly $60,000 to come from insurance and the remainder to come from FEMA. The lowest bid for the project was $240,000. However, Williams said, since he is a licensed general contractor, the work could be done in-house using school district staff and subcontractors for an estimated cost of $103,281. The move will save the school district almost $117,000.

Kent said the board has been carefully considering these plans for some time.

“This is a lot of money. But we have been praying about this decision for months and we are confident that we are making the right decision,” Kent said. 

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