Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow met with the Johnston County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the district’s current capital needs.
During the meeting Dr. Renfrow gave a presentation outlying the most pressing facility needs of the school system.
An external independent audit of Johnston County Schools facilities conducted by Hite Associates in Greenville showed several areas of need. Renfrow said $31.5 million would be required to meet the most immediate needs.
The projects,school locations, and estimated costs include:
|Clayton HS||Demo & Replace Football Bleachers (Identified safety concern by independent contractor)||$205,065|
|Clayton HS||Multi-purpose building||$500,000|
|Clayton MS||Roof Replacement||$5,243,000|
|Cleveland ES||Roof Replacement||$2,621,500|
|Cooper ES||New 125 Ton Chiller||$133,750|
|East Clayton ES||Replace chillers and cooling tower (HVAC)||$449,400|
|Four Oaks ES||Roof Replacement (Butterfly Building)||$531,790|
|Meadow School||Replace controllers (HVAC)||$240,750|
|North Johnston HS||Replace Controllers, Hydronic Pipe Insulation & Piping, Gym Equipment. (HVAC)||$920,200|
|Pine Level ES||Replace Front End & Controllers (HVAC)||$294,250|
|Princeton M/HS||Replace controls (HVAC)||$374,500|
|Selma ES||Replace Roof (Buildings 4, 5, 6, 8)||$1,863,699|
|Selma MS||Roof Replacement||$4,010,895|
|Selma MS||Replace Chiller(HVAC)||$321,000|
|Smithfield MS||Roof Replacement||$749,000|
|Smithfield-Selma HS||Replace Controllers, Hydronic Pipe Insulation, Coiling Issues (HVAC)||$361,125|
|Smithfield-Selma HS||Roof Replacement||$5,890,885|
|Smithfield-Selma HS||Multi-purpose building||$500,000|
|South Johnston HS||Roof Replacement (Main Building)||$5,838,455|
|South Johnston HS||Facilities Upgrade||$500,000|
Johnston County Manager Rick Hester said commissioners agreed to speak with the NC Local Government Commission, which oversees all the borrowing for local governments in the state, to see what steps could be taken.
“There are a lot of guidelines we have to follow,” Hester said Thursday.
The county will likely seek “non-traditional funding” to pay for the repair costs. Typically, voters are asked to decide on bond referendums to pay for school facility needs. However local governments have now been limited to only being able to hold a bond referendum in even number years. Hester said it was too late to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot, so officials will have to look at other options including a non-voter approved loan.
Hester said commissioners want to make sure the money can be borrowed without having to increase property taxes while still maintaining a 15 percent reserve level. The goal, Hester said, is to have everything in place within 60 to 90 days to be able to move forward with a loan if commissioners so desire.
“Money from the county commissioners will help diminish the gap between our older and newer facilities,” said Dr. Renfrow. “We applaud their efforts in recognizing the disparity in facilities and appreciate their teaming with the school system to help find a solution.”
The county manager said he anticipates the school board seeking a bond referendum for other capital needs in 2018.