Caldwell approves financing, land for new school
The new middle school planned for Lenoir is all but ready to break ground after the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved loan financing and a land acquisition for the Caldwell County Schools project Monday night.
The board unanimously approved up to $14.5 million for the project, with an interest rate of up to 4.5 percent, but the actual rate is likely to be less, said Tony Helton, the county finance officer.
Caldwell County Schools will begin taking construction bids for the project Jan. 2 and have seven contractors competing, said Jeff Church, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services. Caldwell Schools’ facilities committee will meet on Jan. 3 and make a bid recommendation to the board of commissioners at its Jan. 13 meeting.
The board also unanimously approved a land acquisition of 14.22 acres for $113,824 adjacent to the property Caldwell County Schools already owns for the construction, along Taylorsville Road, adjacent to Hibriten High School.
The property will supply the school system with additional road frontage, allowing for a deceleration lane to be constructed on Taylorsville Road and providing enough space to add an athletic field in the future, Church said.
Neither project requires additional taxpayer money, with the project being
paid for from schools’ normal funding from sales taxes, lottery funds, debt from bonds purchased in the 1990s being paid off and some money left over from revenues of a corporate tax that is no longer in effect, Helton said.
Construction of the new middle school is set to begin construction sometime late February or early March and finish in August 2015, Church said.
In other business, the board approved a change in the county’s jobs incentives grant guidelines, changing the definition of a full-time employee from 32 hours per week to 30 hours per week, to match new federal definitions, and removing the program’s policy requiring companies to provide employees health insurance, because new federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act include the same requirement.
A local jobs incentive grant of $2,000 per job was extended for Sealed Air Corp., which in July 2012 was approved for an incentive of up to $110,000 for 55 new jobs by Dec. 31, 2013. Sealed Air also was approved this past July for incentives for up to 12 jobs to be created by April 30. The board unanimously voted Monday night to extend both deadlines to Dec. 31, 2014.