PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Pender County Board of Education approved the last five contracts for mold remediation at schools at its emergency meeting Sunday afternoon.
The contracts for the last five schools totaled about $1,437,000. The board already secured contracts for the other 10 schools across the county in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The final schools included on contracts for mold cleanup were Burgaw Elementary, Burgaw Middle, Malpass Corner Elementary, Pender High and West Pender Middle.
Initially, funding obstacles delayed the school district’s return after Hurricane Florence, according to Superintendent Steven Hill. By law, school districts cannot approve contracts without having the funds to pay them.
According to the Pender County Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Lanier, the board has dipped into Pender County’s reserve funds, using about $5 million to help pay for testing the air quality, cleanup and repairs. They’ve applied for about $6 million in state lottery funds, and are working with FEMA for reimbursements to offset the costs as well, Lanier said.
Students are tentatively supposed to start back sometime between Oct. 18-22. Hill will meet with contractors working on the school system’s buildings Monday or Tuesday morning, according to Lanier, to discuss the status of the buildings. Then, they’ll make a decision if it’s possible to start school anytime between Oct. 18-22, or if the start date needs to be moved back.
“We need to make sure schools are safe for students and teachers to return. It’s taking a long time and there’s a lot of red tape. This is something we’ve never seen before,” Lanier said.
PuraTech Restoration will start work on Burgaw Elementary, a contract worth $276,000. PuraTech will also work on Burgaw Middle for $300,000. SERVPRO of West Pender/Onslow will work on repairs at Malpass Corner Elementary for $307,000. Repairs at Pender High will be made by PuraTech for $330,000. SERVPRO of West Pender/Onslow will make repairs at Pender Middle for $224,000.
The board also hired public adjuster Goodman-Gable-Gould/Adjusters International to help interpret the school system’s insurance policy. The school system is insured by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The company and school board agreed on a five percent contingency rate for the contact.
The Hygiene Consulting Corporation was awarded a $79,500 contract for post-remediation testing for all 15 schools across the county at the meeting as well. The company will work with the contractors to make sure all buildings are safe before students and faculty return.
The board also revised the mold sampling agreement with Engineering Consulting Services to change remediation protocols for the testing of school system offices and non-school buildings. They agreed on $21,800 to test for mold.