School construction projects OK’d

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Four new school construction projects — totaling $73,500 — will be under way in the coming months following approval this week by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

One of the projects is intended to protect school food supplies in the event of a power outage.

The commissioners unanimously approved the projects following a presentation to them by Patrick Abele, executive director of Beaufort County Schools’ auxiliary services.

The school system plans to install a generator to protect its supply of food during an extended power outage at an estimated cost of $42,000. That cost is about $10,000 more than the original project-cost estimate because school leaders opted for a concrete pad instead of the wooden one originally planned, Abele told the board.

“The concrete pad will have a longer life and be a better product without the maintenance cost associated with a wooden platform,” he told the board.

Several other capital projects were completed under budget and the cost savings from those projects will be used to pay the difference in the estimated cost of the generator, he said.

In recent years, the school system discarded food destined for school cafeterias because of power outages associated with hurricanes. The generator is intended to prevent similar losses in the future.

Two of the capital projects approved by the commissioners are intended to solve moisture problems at two schools.

School leaders plan to spend $19,500 to install drains in the courtyard at Northside High School to eliminate standing water in the area that has begun to cause problems with the floors in adjacent rooms, the commissioners were told.

Funding for this project will come from contingency funds in the school system’s capital-projects budget, Abele said.

School leaders also plan to spend $6,000 to install canopies over doors leading to a courtyard at P.S. Jones Middle School. They hope to eliminate problems caused by wind-driven rain blowing into the school that creates leaks around the doors.

The commissioners also approved a $6,000 project to replace a roof over storage buildings at Northside High School.

The cost of the project was originally estimated at $15,000, but school leaders opted for a metal roof instead of asphalt shingles. The project will be completed by school maintenance staff, the commissioners were told.