North Carolina Newspapers

Nov. 2 1 Hearing Set On Financing New Elementary School
Since planning began for a new Leland area school
16 months ago, building costs have climbed, school de
sign requirements have changed, and the north Bruns
wick area has continued to grow.
Left with the choice of a project that might take
eight to 10 years to pay off instead of five, or a smaller
school that would be crowded when it opens in fall
1996, Brunswick County school board members and
commissioners are eyeing a project that will cost nearly
$8 million.
Meeting briefly Monday, Brunswick County Com
missioners scheduled a public hearing for Monday,
Nov. 21, on the proposed installment financing of up to
$8 million to build and equip a new elementary school
in northern Brunswick County. The hearing will begin
at 5:45 p.m. in the commissioners' chambers at the
Brunswick County Government Center.
County and school officials had tentatively agreed
to finance a $6 million to $6.5 million project over five
years on an installment purchase plan, based on an ex
pected cost of $65 per square foot. The cost was to be
repaid from state sales tax revenues designated for
school construction or equipment purchase, with no lo
cal funds used.
The new school, to be built on River Road in
Belville, is intended to relieve existing overcrowding at
Lincoln Primary and Iceland Middle schools, and to ac
commodate anticipated growth in the northern part of
the county. Actual enrollment in grades kindergarten
through five at the two schools is 1,168.
The school board wants to put out for bid a 94,675
square foot, 27-classroom school that would serve 650
to 700 students. If built today, the school would have
room for only 80 new students.
Architect Charles Boney Jr. estimates construction
would cost $6.6 million to $7.1 million, at $70 to $75
per square foot. I"he size and cost increases reflect addi
tional cafeteria space required by the state and project
ed state reductions in class size for grades kindergarten
through third grades.
Boney said that the N.C. Division of School Plan
ning estimates school building costs have increased
8.93 percent over the past year, from $68.45 to $74.56
per square foot on average statewide.
School board members considered, but didn't like,
an alternative plan for a 19-classroom school that
would serve 456 to 513 students. With no built-in gym
seating or loading/unloading canopies, it would cost be
tween $5.6 million and $6 million but would be already
overcrowded when it opened in fall 1996.
"I can't believe we would even consider building a
school that size," said District 5 board member Yvonne
Bright. "It would be ridiculous even to build one that
we would have to add on to two years after it was
The figure to be financed will also includc the
school board's repayment of money advanced by the
county for the project. And, strapped for capital funds,
the school board decided last Wednesday to ask com
missioners to borrow $600,000 to furnish the new
school and wire it for a computer network.
Supply Elementary School was built entirely with
state hajf-cent sales tax money, but there wasn't enough
money on hand to buy adequate library books or to
wire the school for computers before it opened, mis
takes the school board doesn't care to repeat.
"We're still buying library books for that school be
cause we didn't have enough money two years ago,"
said Chairman Donna Baxter.
Also last Wednesday the school board delayed ad
vertising for construction bids until the county official
ly names the school board its agent for the project The
board also wants Superintendent Ralph Johnston to fur
ther discuss with county officials the latest cost esti
mates as well as several other questions. Architects
Boncy & Associates had wanted to begin advertising
for bids Nov. 3 and to accept them Nov. 30.
Finding the site presently "unsuitable for school
use," a legal formality, the board voted unanimously to
transfer the deed to the county for the sum of $10, sub
ject to four provisions recommended by Peterson.
These include the county naming the school board as
agent for the construction project, leasing it to the
school board to operate during the financing period,
conveying the school and site to the school board for
the sum of $10 once the loan is repaid, and general
agreement by the two boards on the installment pur
chase plan.
Under the financing instrument chosen by the coun
ty, the commissioners must hold title to the school until
the loan is repaid bccause. as with a mortgage, the
school would serve as the only security for the loan.
Janice Burke of the Local Government Commission,
which supervises financing by local governments, said
last Friday that increasing the amount to be borrowed to
$8 million probably would not affect Brunswick
County's plans for private placement of the debt.
"Even with $8 million they should be able to place
it directly," she said. "If you have to issue certificates of
participation it would be more expensive than a bond
Under installment purchase agreements, local gov
ernments have two options. They can place the debt
privately, borrowing (up to $15 million) through a fi
nancial institution after "shopping" for the best terms.
If the interest rates obtained are extremely close to '
those available on a general obligation bond issue, the
county can save money by private placement because
the associated costs arc lower. The second installment
alternative is to issue certificates of participation (up to
$20 million) in the public market, but the cost is much
Plans for the new school must still receive clear
ance from several state agencies. The school system is
also waiting for a written commitment from Belville for
the town's new sewer system to serve the school.
Without that commitment, construction cannot begin.
The site is not suitable for a septic system.
Belville Mayor Ken Messer said Friday that by the
time the new "Belville Elementary School" is built,
sewer service will be available.
"Tell them, yeah, they can have that," he said. "We
can work it out. We should be in reach of them by
Messer said the town expects to soon begin instal
ling sewer lines to serve both Brunswick Cove nursing
home and the new park on the Brunswick River.
Brunswick County Beach Officials
Meet To Discuss Menhaden
Representatives of five Bruns
wick County beach towns met Tues
day at Holden Beach to discuss how
their communities should deal with
the sticky menhaden fishing issue.
Holden Beach Mayor Gay Atkins
said the town officials reviewed a
proposed agreement between six
beach municipalities, three men
haden fi&iiing companies and the
N.C. Fisheries Association.
Atkins said each town board will
consider the agreement, which is de
signed to resolve an ongoing con
flict between the tourist-dependent
towns and commercial fishing boats
that operate close to shore.
Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach,
Sunset Beach, Long Beach and Cas
well Beach were represented at
Tuesday afternoon's meeting. The
proposed agreement also would af
fect Yaupon Beach.
The town officials arc concerned
about menhaden fishing boats work
ing close to shore and accidentally
spilling fish that wash up on the
strand. They see menhaden fishing
as a threat to the county's biggest in
dustry ? tourism.
Earlier this year, beach towns
asked the N.C. Marine Fisheries
Commission to require menhaden
boats to stay at least 1.5 miles off
shore between May 1 and Sept. 30
and at least one-half mile offshore
Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
The state commission never con
sidered the request. Instead, a com
mittee of local officials and the three
menhaden companies that work off
the Brunswick County coast was es
tablished in hopes of drafting an
The proposed agreement review
cd Tuesday sets forth procedures for
the N.C. Fisheries Association to
notify local beach towns when men
haden boats are working off Bruns
wick County.
The agreement, slated to take ef
fect Jan. 1, also addresses reimburs
ing towns for cleanup of menhaden
One Man Shot, One Arrested
A fight over a woman resulted in a shooting that sent
one man to the hospital and another to jail outside the
old International Longshoremen's hall jn Southport
Tuesday afternoon, according to a Brunswick County
Sheriff's Detective.
The victim's name had not been released at press
time. He was taken by ambulance to Dosher Hospital af
ter the incident, which occurred at about 2:30 p.m..
Detective Steve Mason said.
The man was later sent to New Hanover Regional
Medical Center in Wilmington, where Mason said he
was in serious condition with a bullet wound to the up
per chest.
By 3 p.m., a suspect was in custody and was under
going questioning at the Southport Police Department
Tuesday night. Mason said. A spokesman there said
Southport Police Chief Bob Gray was busy with the fol
low-up investigation and was available for comment
Tuesday evening.
Several sheriff's deputies were asked to respond to
the hospital, where a crowd of the victim's "so-called
friends" got into a shoving match with emergency per
sonnel, resulting in an unknown injury to a nurse.
Mason said. A warrant for assault is expected to be is
sued against the suspect in that incident.
"It appears the victim got into an altercation over
somebody catching somebody with somebody's girl
friend," said Mason, who arrived after both men were
taken from the scene. One of the two men apparently
pulled out a gun, possibly a 9mm autoloading pistol, and
fired one time, Mason said.
The investigation is being handled by Southport
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spills and the use of anti-foaming
agents to reduce oily discharge from
the Fishing vessels.
Atkins said the town officials who
met Tuesday decided to change
some wording in the agreement.
"We reviewed it and will be mak
ing some changes. Then it will be
presented to each town's board," she
said. "Each board will look at it, re
vicw it, then probably will sign
the agreement."
The N.C. Fisheries Assoc. has
proposed setting up a meeting within
the next two weeks for the purpose
of signing the two-page document
Atkins said the beach towns have
"geared this agreement to accommo
date what's important to us."
"Our concern is the protection of
the Brunswick County beaches and
the tourist industry that we have,
and of course the citizens and any
spillage that would cause them prob
lems," she said.
"The ones that met today were
comfortable with what we came up
with, but we have to take it back to
our hoards for their review "
There arc three menhaden fishing
companies that work off the Bruav
wick County coast. Beaufort Fish
eries Inc. is based in Carteret
County and the other two arc based
in Virginia.
"The representatives of the mu
nicipalities, their concerns are the
citizens on the beaches and what's
happening to their beaches more
than the menhaden fishing industry,"
Atkins said. "Economically we real
ly don't receive any benefits. "
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