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Halifax County commissioners Monday approved matching funds of $563,479 — their share of a supplemental grant application to make up for a deficit between money received through a state grant and the total cost of building a new Pre-K through 8 school on the former Eastman school site.

Halifax County schools had reported last month that during community forums Bordeaux Construction had unveiled a guaranteed maximum price of $47,534,759 with a total project cost of $52,973,051.

That meant a deficit of $11,833,051. The matching funds unanimously approved by commissioners, however, brought the deficit down to $11,269,752.

The school system had received a $39,083,000 Needs-based Public School Capital Fund grant and with the county’s matching fund of $2,057,000 had a total of $41,140,000 for the project.

Halifax County Schools Superintendent Eric Cunningham told the board the school system began the process in 2017. “We’ve made Herculean strides. We’ve already received $41 million but as prices escalated we found ourselves roughly about $12 million short.”

However, Cunningham said, “Our General Assembly also saw the same thing. So they appropriated an additional $12 million for the 20 school divisions that they knew would be falling short because of rising prices.”

The school system was prepared to break ground in November, Cunningham said. “When we found out the prices were escalating we pivoted.”

The school system rebidded the new school project so it would “have a concrete understanding of the amount of money that’s needed to rebuild this building and now that we have it we’re ready to go forward and request an additional $11,833,051.”

Cunningham requested the $563,479 matching funds from the board. “That is the 5 percent request that’s needed for the $11,269,572.”

The superintendent said it could take up to June to receive the supplemental funds.

He said asbestos from the property has been cleared, which the school system paid $360,000 for abatement.

“Once this is signed, we’re believing it’s going to happen,” Cunningham said. “So you’re going to start to see a construction fence go up, you’re going to start to see some progress go up because right now I seized, I stopped everything because they said if we touch that building it would count as new construction.”

Once the supplemental money is appropriated there will be a phase 2 groundbreaking, the superintendent said.

John Witcher of Bordeaux broke down the actual costs:

Construction — $47,534,579

Project development cost — $52,973051, which includes all the design costs, fixtures, furniture, equipment, topographic surveys and other future factors.

“This is why I wanted to go design-build,” Cunningham said. “Anything over that is on (Bordeaux). I didn’t want to have to come to the board requesting additional money. I wanted to put the builder in a position where he owns what he recommends. I’m bringing you a turnkey job so that we can move forward.”