A Joint Committee comprised of the Chowan County Commission and the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education met Tuesday morning to discuss the latest updates about future construction plans for John A. Holmes High School.

The board of education and commissioners have been meeting for months to discuss the best course of action for the high school, which was built in the 1950s.

The joint committee’s next meeting will be March 9 when more numbers may be made available as to how much construction may cost.

Parcels of property where the high school is located are owned by the school board, town and county.

County is working with Town Hall and School administration to “unify” property ownership so as to better facilitate the legal and financial dealings associated with the project. And agreements for facility use are being drafted.

Superintendent Rob Jackson said the school system is working on providing a vision statement that would serve almost as a blueprint for planning.

Applying a hypothetical example, Jackson said if the high school’s curriculum seeks programs to support health sciences classes, particularly because of the nearby presence of Vidant Chowan Hospital, then facilitating these classrooms would be an important part of the design process for building a new school.

Following programming decision, planning for a swimming pool or performing arts center may eventually be added to any blueprint pending policy makers endorsement and voters approval of a bond initiative.

Commission and the school board hope to get the referendum on the November 2020 ballot.

Commissioner Ron Cummings that while the bond may be approved by the voters in November, he emphasized – as have many affected policymakers in the past – that the county’s bond debt must be retired first – 2024 – before any shovel is turned.

During the Jan. 6 county commission meeting, commissioners approved two contracts — one new and another updated — that will help pave the way for the bond referendum for the John A. Holmes High School replacement/renovation project.

Also, commissioners unanimously approved the financial adviser agreement with Davenport & Company LLC for financial advisory and consulting services.

And the board also unanimously approved an updated engagement letter with Parker Poe for bond counsel services for the high school project.

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com