Dare commissioners hear about anticipated costs for early college

Published 3:55 pm Friday, January 12, 2024

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Dare County Board of Commissioners received a report on options for the proposed early college building on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.

County manager Robert L. Outten told the commissioners that Oakley Collier Architects estimated that fixing up the newest building on the old College of The Albemarle campus would cost $2 million. He further stated that a decision will need to be made very soon for Dare County Schools to open the facility for its early college program in the fall of 2024.

Oakley Collier’s report looked at the condition of the oldest building, a former skating rink. The firm’s recommendation states: “Due to the age, complexity, and costs associated with renovating Building A, OCA recommends Dare County pursue a demolition of the current building and construct a new facility in its place.”

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The costs associated with renovating the oldest building are estimated to be $7,948,800, not including permits, architectural and engineering fees, furniture and fixtures, equipment and construction contingency.

The total cost renovating the newest building is estimated at $1,830,045 plus $781,404.50 in permits, fees, furniture, equipment and contingency for a total of $2,611,449.50.

The three options presented by Oakley Collier report are:

– Renovate both buildings. It’s the least expensive, but does not provide the square footage needed in five years, when the early college is anticipated to have 350 students.

– New construction and renovate the newest building. Demolish the oldest building and construct new one at a construction cost of $11,369,475 plus. Renovate the newest one. Total bill: $17,013,669.20.

– Find a new site and construct a new building with 28,715 square feet. Total cost: $21,160,349.38.

Funding is available from North Carolina Education Lottery proceeds, reported county finance director David Clawson.

The Dare County Capital Improvement Plan Committee will meet on Jan. 19, 2024 at 9 a.m. in Room 238 in the Dare Administration Building in Manteo. School officials are expected to be in attendance, as are Oakley Collier architects.

Dare County Schools has submitted an application to establish an early college to the state’s Department of Public Instruction. The application was approved by the Dare County Board of Education on Sept. 28, 2023. The application has been reviewed by staff. The General Assembly must approve the application.

The plan calls for starting the program in the fall of 2024 with 75 students from the ninth grade and then adding 75 students every year through the 13th year to reach a maximum of 350 students. Dare County Schools early college will offer students a high school diploma as well as the start or completion of an associate degree or technical certification from College of The Albemarle.

The student population to be served are high school students at risk of dropping out before receiving a high school diploma; first generation college students, i.e. those with parents who did not go beyond high school; and students who would benefit from accelerated academic instruction.

The draft application states that to operate the early college will require in the first year a principal, eight core teachers (which increases to 13 at the second year), a college liaison, a counselor, a clerical and a transportation staffer, cafeteria staff (increasing to 1½ full-time equivalents in second year), a custodian, and half-time increasing to fulltime at year three school resource officer and a school nurse, and half-time exceptional children teacher increasing to full-time in third year, an intervention/instruction coach at half-time increasing to full-time in second year. An assistant principal joins the staff in year three.

Total salary and benefits for the first year are $1,135,485; second year at $1,580,171; third, fourth, and fifth years at $1,789,274. Salary and benefit numbers will likely change during the five years.

Instructional supplies, technology, professional development, office supplies, library and other items total $74,004 in the first year and going upward to year five at $159,772.