Panel mulls access-road complication

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2007

By Staff
Will revisit extra expense at a later time
Special to the Daily News
Allowing Washington to annex the John Small Elementary School-P.S. Jones Middle School campus provides the schools access to city utilities, but that move resulted in construction plans out of line with city safety codes.
At meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Education’s Building and Grounds Committee on Monday, Superintendent Jeff Moss told committee members that emergency access to both schools complied with state and county codes, but that is not so with the city’s requirements. To comply with the city’s emergency-access standards, the school board may have to approve the construction of a $16,345 gravel access road to the campus off Market Street Extension.
Moss said he expects the city’s fire chief to withhold a certificate of occupancy for the new John Small Elementary School if the access road is not built.
Larry Wood, a construction consultant for the school system, agreed with the inevitability of constructing the road, but he thought a decision on how to proceed on the matter should be held off for further consideration.
Wood also advised against following through on a proposal by committee members to hire a different contractor to build the road. Greenville-based Hudson Brothers Construction has the contract to build the new John Small Elementary School.
The $16,345 bid includes a $2,500 subcontracting fee for Hudson Brothers Construction to hire a contractor to build the road and oversee its construction. That expense would be added to the $11.08 million budgeted for the construction of the new school, the last project to be paid for under the $33 million bond package passed in 2004.
As Wood suggested, the committee agreed to revisit consideration of the project at a later meeting pending confirmation from the city’s fire chief that the access road would satisfy city safety codes that apply to the campus.