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COA project to finish in February

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A fence surrounds the entrance to College of The Albemarle's Performing Arts Center, where the lobby is undergoing renovation, Monday afternoon.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

College of The Albemarle officials aim to have renovations to the Elizabeth City campus’s Performing Arts Center completed before spring.

Joe Turner, COA’s chief operations officer, told the Board of Trustees’ Building and Grounds Committee last week that demolition work to the PAC’s former lobby has been finished. COA is now looking at a February completion date for the project if everything goes as planned, Turner said.

The college already has decided to stage the first show of COA theater arts program’s spring season in the auditorium at New Community Church, the site where the program’s fall productions have been held.

The budget for the PAC lobby renovation project is $700,000. Trustees voted in March to use $549,000 from the N.C. Connect Bond’s proceeds toward the renovation project.

Regarding another major capital project on the Elizabeth City campus, the $2.79 million library renovation, Turner said $75,000 in value engineering had been accepted on the project. “Value engineering” is a term used to describe changes to a project — typically the substitution of less expensive materials that are still acceptable for the intended purpose — in order to keep the overall cost within the budget.

Even with that $75,000, though, it will still be necessary to use another $115,000 from the college’s $500,000 NC Connect Bond reserve to complete the library project, according to Turner’s report. The trustees’ plan for using $6.59 million in NC Connect bonds to build and renovate COA facilities includes $1.8 million for the library renovations.

The plan also includes $1.5 million for campus consolidation and renovation of professional arts spaces in Dare County; $1 million for a public safety building and classrooms at COA’s Currituck campus; and $1.3 million for a maintenance and storage facility at the back of the main campus in Elizabeth City.

The Currituck project would actually be a county project that would put law enforcement agencies and a volunteer fire station in a single facility. COA's participation in the project would provide dedicated classroom space for instruction in public safety fields and also would make some common spaces available for COA use.

COA officials had to get a local bill passed in the General Assembly this year in order to use the NC Connect bonds on the Currituck facility, which will be owned by the county but include a longterm lease with COA for the classroom space.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, passed after a similar provision for the Dare County facility was removed. COA officials hope to revisit the legislation for the Dare campus in next year’s short session.

In addition to the local legislation, the use of bond proceeds for the Currituck facility also requires a resolution by the COA Board of Trustees. The Building and Grounds Committee unanimously endorsed that resolution, which will go to the State Office of Community Colleges.

Total project costs are estimated at  $8.1 million for campus consolidation in Dare and $7.5 million for the public safety building and classrooms in Currituck.

The proposed 8,000-square-foot maintenance and storage facility on the main campus is expected to be funded entirely with bond proceeds.

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