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Cost of STEM renovations falls below expectations / April 10, 2014
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday awarded a $617,522 contract to J. E. Burton Construction Company to renovate the Halifax STEM Center for use as the school system’s Alternate Education Program.

The contract award came on a 7-0-1 vote with ED-4 Supervisor Doug Bowman abstaining. Adding the cost of the architect’s fee of $81,170, the project will total $698,692 — far less than the county anticipated

There were three other bidders: Daniel and Company, Blair Construction and Quality Construction of Danville.

Supervisors previously earmarked $830,299.48 for the school system to be used for capital improvements to the STEM Center. (The money was a one time credit paid to the county on the January debt service that Halifax County pays for earlier school construction projects.)

After receiving the favorable bid on the STEM Center project, the schools now will have $131,000 remaining that can only be used for capital needs.

Supervisors also heard from IDA Director Matt Leonard that the Authority has been awarded a $427,500 grant from the United States Community Advancement and Improvement Program to match the Tobacco Commission’s $1.4 million grant for Phase III renovations to the Southern Virginia Manufacturing Center (SVAMC, formerly the Daystrom building).

The grant relieves Halifax County of having to provide the $104,000 of matching funds for the grant which had earlier been requested. There will also be sufficient funds, Leonard said, to extend natural gas to the site, making the Center more attractive to prospects as well as serving other businesses and homes in the area.

Leonard noted that much work has already been done to the SVAMC, but most of it has not been visible to the public. “Over the next year and a half Halifax citizens will see the building and grounds begin to transform and our prospective industries will find a more ready site for them to consider.”

Supervisors also authorized the purchase of two sets of protective gear for each of the County’s 12 fire departments. The equipment should have a life span of ten years with replacements continuing each year.

Under other additions to Monday’s published agenda, Supervisors approved two resolutions. The first of those was a recognition honoring the Cooperative Extension Service, established by the Smith Lever Act of 1914 on its 100th birthday.

The resolution, approved on an 8-0 unanimous vote, points out that Cooperative Extension educational programs in the areas of family and consumer services, agriculture and natural resources, 4-H development and community visibility have benefited numerous businesses, family and youth in Halifax County.

The second resolution, which was approved on a 7-1 vote with ED-8 Supervisor Bryant Claiborne opposing it, was initiated by a call from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACO) asking localities to pass a resolution calling on the Governor and General Assembly to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year in order that local governments and school systems will know what state funds they may expect to receive for the coming year.

Giardano, who moved for approval of the resolution, asked that it include a sentence removing the issue of Medicaid expansion from budget negotiations. That brought a protest from ED#8 Claiborne who said he didn’t think the board should get into the politics of the issue, but should simply ask that a budget be finalized. The resolution including the removal of the Medicaid expansion passed with all but Claiborne supporting it.

Supervisors also accepted the audit report for fiscal year June 30, 2013 submitted by Robinson, Farmer, Cox.

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