Mount Airy City Schools will appear before the Surry County Board of Commissioners tonight to discuss budgetary needs for the coming 2016-17 fiscal year.
Among the items on the school district’s list is the desire to move forward with plans to repair and renovate a former Pike Electric building on Riverside Drive.
According to a consultant, the price tag could be between $157,500 and $189,000 for roof repairs with perhaps two to five times that much for interior renovations.
Dr. Greg Little, superintendent, thanked Randy Baker for braving the Charlotte traffic to drive up for Tuesday night’s board meeting at Tharrington Primary School.
Baker said he spoke to Little and Bryan Taylor, then assistant superintendent, last summer about the idea of converting the Riverside building into a new central office for the MACS district.
After an extended study, Baker gave his findings and presented a rough draft of what the finished layout could be.
First off, Baker said, that building is structurally sound. It has issues with the roof, but as far as mechanical systems, all of them test out fine, and the plumbing lines are clear.
As far as roof repairs go, this one is pretty simple, Baker said. The cost would likely be between $7.50 and $9 per square foot, giving a total cost of less than $200,000.
The board asked about mildew that had been spotted inside the building.
Baker said that because the building has been vacant, the moisture that has entered the building hasn’t been dried out by circulating air from an HVAC system. But, he said mildew isn’t the kind of headache that mold presents, and he didn’t see mold.
This building needs a tenant, said Wendy Carriker, who chairs the school board.
Little agreed. The building had been broken into, there is some graffiti on the wall, fire extinguishers fired off and some of the gutters were removed because they were made with copper.
“If the school board has a chance to move in, it’s a great opportunity,” said Baker. “Hands down.”
Baker showed a possible floor plan via projector. He said that there are two sections of the building, an older part and a newer part. His plan focused on doing the most work in the front section of building — which from the rendition looked to be about 60 percent of the total square footage.
Board member Mike Marion asked about the cost to renovate.
Baker said that could vary from $50 to $65 per square foot. This would include noncombustible building materials and a fire sprinkler system.
Checking a calculator, Marion noted that this figure could be $1.3 million to $1.4 million, possibly more with roof repairs.
That would be true if the entire building were to be upfitted, said Baker.
Sections of the building are okay as they are, plus the back end (which looks like about 40 percent) could be mostly left alone at this time. Much of that space could be used for simple storage for now; then if the board needs room for expansion, the space is readily available.
With Baker’s estimates, renovating the entire building would cost $1.04 million to $1.365 million. With roof repairs between $157,500 and $189,000, the total price tag could be between $1,197,500 and $1,554,000.
Asked how this would compare to building a new office from scratch, Baker said new construction costs would likely be three times higher because of the need for site work, paving and plumbing that this building already has.
As a compromise, the school district could put in a conference room for board meetings and renovate some area for office space for staff, Baker said. The schools could do something significant for $300,000 to $400,000. With roof repairs, a good bit of work could be done for half a million.
The floor plan showed a straight path from the main entrance into the proposed conference room. The front area would include public restrooms for parents and guests, but the rest of the office area and storage could be closed off to prevent public access.
Baker reminded the board that this was just a rough draft that he put together. The project could be narrowed down by knowing exactly how many offices and how much space the administration needs right now.
Little said that’s what he would like to do next. He is going to appear before the Board of Commissioners to seek permission to build a more specific plan and cost estimate.
If the project gets a green light at some point, how long would repairs and renovations take, asked Carriker.
The roof repairs could be done in three to four weeks. The upfit inside would take three to four months.
As he is about to leave Mount Airy, Little thanked the school board for giving him the opportunity to be superintendent. He said he wanted to go on record saying how wonderful this time in Mount Airy has been for him and his family. He appreciated the encouragement and support that the school board gave him.
Two weeks ago, the school district approved the hiring of an interim superintendent to fill Little’s spot until a permanent replacement is found.
Retired Winston-Salem/Forsyth superintendent Don Martin, who will be take the interim position, attended the meeting Tuesday and heard Baker’s presentation.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.