Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 29, 2012

County OKs another $1M in funding for new school

‘... This is the final sum the county is willing to borrow’

CUMBERLAND — By a 2-1 vote, Allegany County commissioners on Thursday approved adding an additional $1 million in funding for the new Allegany High School. Commissioner Creade Brodie, Jr. voted against the additional funding.

The money was added to the county’s Capital Improvement Plan. The amendment, offered by Commissioner Bill Valentine, capped direct county funding after adding the million dollars at a total of $9.2 million.

“This amendment is to make it clear that this is the final sum the county is willing to borrow,” Valentine said.

“I’m willing to accept the amendment and cap it,” said Commission President Michael McKay.

Valentine’s amendment also directed county finance officials to immediately begin working with bond counsel to procure the needed funds and take advantage of today’s low interest rates.

The money was added to the county’s Capital Improvement Plan. The decision was made at the commission’s regular business meeting at county offices on Kelly Road.

Board of education contributions bring the local share of the project to $12.2 million.

The school will be designed to seat 719 students, with some changes in that number possible, county officials said.

“I was shocked and surprised we were asked for another million,” Brodie said. Brodie was upset, saying he read about the additional request in the paper.

“I am in support of this project, but we have to put a cap on it,” Brodie said before the vote.

Demolition costs for the 500,000 square feet of buildings at the former Braddock Hospital site are estimated at about $2 million, and McKay has said if the demolition costs exceed $2 million, the board of education “would be responsible for the difference.”

The board is also putting up an additional million for the demolition, which is expected to start next summer.

The current Allegany High School was built in 1925.

The board of education decided to build a new high school after spending more than two years studying how best to reconfigure its secondary schools.

Preliminary estimates show the county would pay a total of about $13 million toward the estimated $34 million project.

McKay has said the county expects to realize some savings through refinancing debt and would consider directing some of that toward demolition.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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