COA seeks reallocation of $105K for other projects


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

College of The Albemarle plans to spend around $60,000 to fix a leaky roof and electrical damage from Hurricane Matthew, and move programs as it prepares for a major library renovation.

On Monday, COA Chief Operations Officer Joe Turner asked Pasquotank commissioners to allow the college to reallocate the $105,000 they approved for repairing a chiller and removing the covered walkway between the B Building, the library, and the A Building.

COA has more pressing needs to address, Turner told commissioners. He said the FC Building roof is leaking above a stairwell and has damaged sheet rock. Fixing the roof will cost almost $30,000, he said.

COA also had a brownout during Hurricane Matthew, Turner said, which damaged about a dozen controllers for COA's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. Those controllers are decades old and have to be replaced, which will total some $10,000, he said.

Additionally, he said COA plans to permanently relocate its certified nursing assistant program from the B Building. Moving it and COA's “Adult Basic Education Transitional Opportunities” program elsewhere will require $16,000 in renovations, plus several thousand dollars in plumbing work, he said.

In tapping the $105,000 for those and other projects, Turner said the money shouldn't be spent on the chiller and walkway now. COA's HVAC company has determined the chiller is so old it would be a waste of money to repair it, he said. COA will likely ask for funds next year to replace the chiller, he said, adding he estimated it would cost around $200,000.

Turner also said COA will not need the $20,000 for removing the A-B walkway. That project will be rolled into the library renovation, funded primarily by the Connect NC state bond that voters approved in March.

While supporting the new projects, commissioners still had questions about them.

County Manager Rodney Bunch asked Turner why COA hadn't planned or budgeted for moving programs out of the library before now.

Turner said COA wasn't sure how the programs would be handled when it made its bond request, so the expenses weren't included in the request. The certified nursing assistant program's new location would be permanent, he noted.

Commissioner Frankie Meads also asked Turner why COA didn't want to hold onto the county's funds for the eventual chiller replacement.

There are more pressing needs now, Turner reiterated.

“Quite frankly, I'd love to be able to put that $85,000 toward it, (but) I've got some immediate needs that I've got to meet, is the problem,” Turner said.

Though supportive of reallocating the $105,000, commissioners didn't vote on COA’s request Monday. They instead asked Turner to get firmer cost estimates for all the projects, allowing county staff to present a budget amendment for further consideration.