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Decision on college’s Southport annex could come any day now

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Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 7:32 pm

Decision on college’s Southport annex could come any day now By Hilary Snow, Staff Writer

Brunswick Community College officials will soon decide on the most cost-effective route for bringing a long-awaited satellite campus to Southport.

Jerry Thrift, vice-president of operations for the college, said this week that the contractor with the lowest bid for construction at the site, the former Brunswick County Training School on Lord Street, would present two estimates—one that factored in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and one that did not—to the building and grounds committee ahead of the next board of trustees meeting this Thursday.

Trustees have also requested the contractor give them an approximate cost of demolishing an additional 4,587 square feet as compared to the cost to replace the roof on that portion of the building.

The full board, Thrift added, could take action on the options during Thursday’s meeting.

Last month, Brunswick Community College (BCC) trustees decided to hold off on awarding a construction contract when all but one of the seven work-bids they received in December came in about $800,000 over budget.

The lowest bid was still $200,000 more than the $1.23-million remaining for construction.

Thrift said that federal wage restrictions come along with a $250,000 USDA grant the college received for the Southport annex project in 2010. As required by law, federally funded or assisted construction projects are bound to the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage determinations included in the Davis-Bacon Act.

The college does not have the USDA grant funds in hand, Thrift noted. He said the USDA would reimburse BCC after the project was completed—if the college decided to accept the money.

The board allocated $1.4-million from the $30-million bond referendum approved by voters in 2004 for the Southport annex, but Thrift said approximately $200,000had already been spent on architectural designs.

The Southport campus is the last in a series of projects funded through the 2004 referendum.

In August 2011, BCC opened its South Brunswick Islands Center, an event and meeting space in a former gentlemen’s club in the Calabash area. BCC purchased the building for approximately $1 million; renovations totaled $300,000.

While the South Brunswick Islands building has four classrooms, Thrift said that facility was intended for different purposes than the Southport site.

The campus on Lord Street was designed to be a continuing education center, with more classroom space and art studios.

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