The Moore County School Board voted Monday night to accept a bid from Thomas Construction Group for $30.9 million for the construction of the new Pinehurst Elementary School. This is almost $2 million over the original budget and is after the school district worked with project engineers and architects to find $800,000 in savings.
The board also approved establishing a hedge fund to cover unanticipated expenses for all the schools currently under construction. This fund of $2.1 million will come from $1.7 million in unspent lottery funds and $400,000 out of the school district’s capital funds.
Moore County was allocated $903,000 in lottery funds in FY 2018-2019. Statewide, the lottery gave approximately $100 million to schools. By statute, the lottery gives 30 percent of its total revenue to school funding. These funds can be used for a variety of uses including reducing class sizes in early grades, academic prekindergarten programs, scholarships for in-need college students, and school construction.
Board Vice-Chair Libby Carter pointed out that just because the money was unspent did not mean it was not earmarked for needed repairs on other schools, and it was a shame that it was necessary to use it for this purpose.
Board Chair Helena Wallin-Miller agreed it was a difficult position to be in but “an overwhelming majority of Moore County voters thought it was time to build, so it is the right decision.”
Moore County Executive Officer of Operations John Birath pointed out that the lottery funds came from the most recent allotment from the state, and that future lottery funds will be available in the future for needed repairs.
The final vote was 7-0 to begin construction of Pinehurst Elementary School. The new school will be built on the site of the existing school. Students moved into a temporary facility to allow demolition and construction, which is projected to be a two-year process.
The next Moore County School Board meeting is a called special session to receive input on the redistricting plan the board is considering. According to Miller, this will be a listening session, and neither the board or school staff will be making comments.
It is scheduled for this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Union Pines High School. Members of the public who wish to speak must sign up by 5:55 pm.
Feature photo of the rendering drawing of Pinehurst Elementary School via Moore County Schools.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 639-9303.