Costs Increase For New Bertie County High School

As the plans to build a new high school in Bertie County continue to move forward the school board is now faced with increasing costs.

The estimated cost of the project increased and the board is now trying to decide what to keep and what to cut from their future school.

The future 28 room facility will be the same size as the current Bertie High School and right across the street. It is now expected to cost 20 million dollars- nearly two million dollars higher than the estimate the board was given six months ago.

James Hite is associate president of Hite Associates in Greenville which is building the news school. Hite says, "It's unfortunate any time bids are over but it happens as much as it does when bids are under. It takes several months to get permits and costs can increase as well as decrease in that time period. So, rarely are your projections right where you thought they would be."

The board already had a plan in place to pay for the school- with money from the federal stimulus bill in which the district is reimbursed for interest paid on money borrowed.

Monday night the board discussed now they might have to re-work plans to scale down the auditorium or gym of their dreams so they can still make their budget.

Gloria Lee is the chairman of the Bertie County Board of Education. "We're trying to take a look at construction costs to see where there can be some cuts so that we can fit in that 18 million dollar figure. We wanna make some cuts, but not impact our quality, we still want a good quality school."

But if a decision can't be made by December 31st, the board risks losing the money entirely.

Hite says, "I think this project is going to get built. We just have to consider what the options are to try to get the costs where it needs to be.

Lee says the board will meet again next Tuesday to discuss what can be taken out of the current project.

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