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Dare commissioners receive school facility survey, take additional action

Dare County Board of Commissioners received and reviewed a Department of Public Instruction Facility needs survey for 2020-21 from Dare County Public Schools.

For the next 10 years, the survey shows the school system does not expect to need new schools or facility expansions.

The survey indicates the system has an additional 1,032 student capacity over enrollment in 2019-20.

Over the next 10 years, enrollment is expected to decline, yielding a surplus of 1,520 student slots.

The surplus capacity is unevenly spread.

One elementary school was over capacity and three elementary schools have low capacity numbers.

Manteo Elementary has a student capacity of 618. Average daily membership for 2019-20 was 660 students, showing 42 more K-5 students than capacity. In a separate column, Manteo Elementary shows capacity for 54 students in pre-K.

Kitty Hawk Elementary has a capacity of 480 students. Its average daily membership was 467 students, showing 13 more K-5 student seats available. Kitty Hawk has capacity for 36 pre-K students.

Cape Hatteras Elementary’s average daily membership last term was 298 students K-5. The school’s capacity is 326 K-5 students, showing 28 student seats available. The school has a 36-student capacity in pre-K. For this upcoming term, the school has one 18-student pre-K classroom.

First Flight Elementary shows an average daily membership of 307, with a K-5 capacity of 344, leaving 37 student seats available. The school’s pre-K capacity is 36 students.

Cape Hatteras Secondary has by far the largest capacity available at 399 students for grades 6 through 12. First Flight Middle follows at 211 students.

The facility needs survey was carried in the consent agenda on Aug. 2.

At the Monday, Aug. 2 meeting, the commissioners adopted a resolution to start the process to issue a 10-year debt to finance purchases of Kill Devil Hills property at $1,961,700 for an EMS station and a Manteo parcel for the youth center at $767,700. Renovations for the youth center are estimated at $201,300.

The resolution, which passed unanimously, called for a public hearing. The hearing was held immediately after the board’s action. No one came forward to speak.

In a planning matter, the board unanimously approved an amendment to special use permit 2-2020 for Shelly OBX Mini Storage in Manns Harbor. The request was submitted by owners William and Shelly Daugherty. The approved amendment adds a fourth mini storage warehouse to the business.

The commissioners tapped Albemarle & Associates, of Kill Devil Hills, for professional engineering services for projects valued at $50,000 or less. A request for qualifications was advertised June 1, 2021. Three proposals were received, with one coming from a Raleigh firm and another from Elizabeth City. The proposals were reviewed by the county’s purchasing agent, finance director and county manager. The review group recommended Albemarle based on its Dare County knowledge, overall responsiveness and past experience.

The commissioners adopted a proclamation proclaiming August as Child Support Awareness Month. The proclamation reaffirms the board’s committee to strengthen county “families by providing child support services to improve the economic stability and well-being of children.” In fiscal year 2021, more than $2.6 million in child support was collected from parents of Dare County children. Nearly 827 child support orders are in place and more than 950 children receive financial support from their parents, states the proclamation.

“The Parks and Recreation Advisory Council reviews and advises the Parks and Recreation Department in its efforts to promote, organize, plan and coordinate activities and programs for youth and adults in Dare County,” reports the agenda book.

The board reappointed eight members, including Anita Bills, Willer Spencer, Amanda Hooper Walters, George Bar, Robert Parrish, Eddie Twyne, Stephanie J. Harkness-Moxley and Kelli Harmon. The board appointed Helen Furr to the seat held by Kathy Carden, who did not wish to be reappointed.

County manager Robert L. Outten asked for and received permission to spend an additional $5,000 for technology training for 700 employees.

Outten addressed “a convoluted mess” about stormwater culverts along Airport Road. The project was to move one culvert, but the culvert was connected to a pipe that doesn’t work. Figuring out the mess will be the job of Albemarle & Associates.

At Wescott Park, the owner of a row of three or four homes has asked the county to put up a fence to prohibit bikes and motorbikes cutting through the private property. The job will cost $7,256.

At the end of his agenda, Outten said “I’m so proud of our staff.” He was joined in saluting the county’s staff by Chairman Robert L. Woodward and commissioner Danny Couch.

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