8/14/15 ABSS to tackle another round of repairs
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 8/14/15
Reprinted with permission.
For the second time in three months, the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education is asking the county Board of Commissioners to release nearly $1 million in bond money for building repairs and upgrades.
District administrators have been saying for months that the Alamance-Burlington School System would soon spend the last of a school bond voters approved 10 years ago. Superintendent Bill Harrison said he had been talk ing to County Manager Craig Honeycutt about a plan to spend down the rest of the funds. After spending the $998,000 the board voted on at its August work session, the bond will be down to $700,000. There are also about $1 million in lottery funds for the district, said Todd Thorpe, assistant superintendent with ABSS.
Thorpe said most of the work would start as soon as the commissioners approved the funds, but the $500,000 renovation of a covered walkway at Turrentine Middle School would have to wait. It has to be completely renovated for safety’s sake, Thorpe said.
“That walkway has been proven totally unusable and will have to be replaced,” Thorpe said.
The work cannot start while students are in the building because of the amount of equip ment required, but design and preparatory work can go ahead so crews can jump into the potentially eight-week project as soon as possible.
Board Chair Pam Thompson asked Thorpe whether the school could do without the covered walkway. Thorpe said it was possible, but the school would still have to provide access to that side of the building.
“It can’t rain on school days,” board member Mark Payne added. Payne used to teach band at Turrentine.
THE DISTRICT HAS been removing carpet in all schools and replacing it with low-maintenance tile. Thorpe said the carpet being removed from mobile classrooms at Graham Middle School had been there since the trailers arrived. Board member Tony Rose said he had seen significant leaks in the roofs of some of those units last year. Thorpe said that had been repaired.
There are also repairs to concrete sidewalks at different schools on this list.
“We have a lot of concrete sidewalks that have buckled,” Thorpe said. “The ones we can come in and grind to level the surface and reseal, we’ll do that, but there’s many areas, like one at Graham High School, where we had more extensive work to do.”
There is still a long list of repairs needed in district schools, and board members said they need a plan for finding funds without the bond and scheduling the work over the next four or five years.
Harrison told the board that the Joint Schools Facilities Task Force it formed with the commissioners would help set priorities, but ultimately, the board would have to work out the plan, scheduling that work and finding the funds.
Rose said the district needs to show everyone what it has done and will do with the public’s money.
“We’re going to need to not only be able to show what we’ve done, but where we’re going,” Rose said.
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