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COA projects to start in May

122816libraryCOA

This artist's rendering shows what the interior of College of The Albemarle's library will look like following a renovation project slated to begin in May.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two major renovation projects — one in the library, the other in performing arts center lobby — are slated to get underway on College of The Albemarle’s main campus in Elizabeth City in late spring 2017.

COA President Kandi Deitemeyer, making her final presentation to the COA Board of Trustees, gave board members an update on both projects during their meeting last week.

Of the two projects, the library renovation will be costlier and take longer to complete. Work on the library will begin in May, cost $2.8 million and be complete by December.

According to COA officials, the library project will include complete renovation of B Building’s 11,000-square-foot first floor and 10,000 square feet of the second floor. All-new mechanical, electrical and information technology infrastructure will be installed, plus an elevator to provide better access for handicapped students.

To fund the library renovation, COA plans to use $1.8 million from the ConnectNC public works bond voters overwhelmingly approved in March. COA’s share of the $2 billion bond is $6.5 million. COA also plans to have $897,000 in state funding for the project as well as $90,000 in private donations.

The performing arts center lobby renovation will cost $517,672. Like the library renovation, it, too, is slated to begin in May, after spring commencement. The project is slated to be complete a little earlier than the library renovation — by November.  

COA plans to use $367,151 in ConnectNC bond funding for the performing arts center project. Another $150,521 in private donations will be used as well.

COA Chief Operating Officer Joe Turner said later that the college also plans to replace the performing arts center's exterior side panels. That work will be completed, he said, as part of COA's normal roof maintenance efforts.

Turner said the work on the performing arts center’s exterior will take two years and be completed with funding from Pasquotank County as part of the college’s annual allocation for maintenance from the county. As the host county for COA, Pasquotank is obligated by state law to help pay for the campus’s maintenance.

Addressing Pasquotank’s annual allocation, Deitemeyer, who will be leaving at week’s end for the president’s job at Central Piedmont Community College, told trustees she believes the county's support for the main campus “really does need to increase” in 2017-18.

Deitemeyer said she is concerned that a share of the $6.5 million in state bond money earmarked for COA could end up being spent on deferred maintenance for the main campus instead of on bringing new programs to the campus.

Pasquotank Commissioner Joe Winslow, who is also a COA trustee, said later the county already contributes a great deal of money to COA.

"It's the major campus in the (N.C. Community College) system and Pasquotank County certainly will do everything it can to support it — and support it in a manner to provide a better education for ... the residents of the area," Winslow said.

Winslow said the county receives plenty of requests for funding.

"It's hard to spread that dollar in so many places, but somehow we've been able to do that and improve our credit rating at the same time," he said.

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