School board OKs Princeville repairs


Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Board of Education met Monday night at their regular monthly meeting, approving a contract for the renovation of Princeville Elementary School and approving three grant applications to seek funding for other aspects of education in the school district.

The board unanimously approved a contract between Edgecombe County Public Schools and H.G. Reynolds Co. for the renovations of Princeville Elementary School. The project cost will be an estimated $6,186,277.

Jerome Williams, director of maintenance for Edgecombe County Public Schools, said work on the renovations already has begun.

“We began some of the demolition work at the school today,” Williams told the school board.

As a tenet of the contract, the work is to be substantially completed within 270 days of the start of the project.

Williams also had some good news for school board members about another school maintenance project.

“The work on the SouthWest Edgecombe roof has been completed and we came in about $62,000 under budget on that project,” Williams said.

School board Chairwoman Evelyn Wilson said she is thrilled not only by the savings but also that the work is finally complete.

“I have woman that asks me every time I see her if we have finished the roof,” she said. “I will be glad to give her a positive response.”

The school board also approved three grant applications that seek funding for the school district.

Erin Swanson, director of innovation for the school district, is submitting a Community Progress Fund grant that would “enable the Edgecombe County Public Schools to capitalize on the momentum for innovation” in the school district, If the grant is awarded, it will bring between $20,000 and $30,000 into the district.

Swanson said she felt the grant was worth applying for.

“We were one of the school districts selected to submit a full application,” Swanson said.

The other two grants applications are both related to funding for the arts in the school district.

Charlene Pittman, director of student support services for the school district, said she is applying for a cARTwheels Grant through the N.C. Arts Council that could potentially bring in $15,000.

If the grant is approved, Pittman said the money would be used to bring in artist Pierce Freelon, who would offer a residency program and workshops for up to 32 young people teaching them songwriting and beat making using computers.

The other grant application is for a $18,671 Grassroots Grant from the N.C. Arts Council to support the arts in Edgecombe County Public Schools.

“If we are awarded this grant for the 2019-20 school year, it will be our third year receiving it,” Pittman said. “Some of the grant money for this year allowed us to bring Spanish dancers to our two Spanish immersion schools. They were at Bulluck Elementary School last week and at Martin Millennium Academy this week.”

School board Vice Chairwoman Ann Kent said she is excited about the grant opportunities but sad that the school district has to rely on grants for these arts activities.

“I am disappointed that the state does not put more funding in the arts,” Kent said. “But I am delighted that this program allows us to offer these opportunities to students. Arts are so important. A lot of research shows the connection between the arts and student achievement. Thank you not only for the enrichment but also for the educational opportunities we are able to bring to our students,” Kent said.