Architect bids for tech school due next week

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Wilson County Schools will receive bids next week from architectural firms interested in designing the new Wilson Academy of Applied Technology high school building.

Superintendent Lane Mills offered a progress report on the project at Monday’s Wilson County Board of Education meeting.

Mills said the bids will close on Feb. 27.

WAAT’s new home will replace the current location in one wing of Beddingfield High School. The more than 75,000 square-foot structure will be built at Wilson Community College Lee Technology Center between the automotive technology and applied technology buildings.

This project is being financed by a $15 million grant from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s 2019-20 Needs-Based School Capital Fund and $5 million from Wilson County.

Bids from potential architectural firms will be brought before the Wilson County Board of Education in March.

The Wilson Community College Foundation met Feb. 6 and agreed to deed the land where the WAAT building will be to Wilson County Schools, according to Mills.

Mills said WCS will be sending a form to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction about the completed agreement between the college foundation and school board to notify the state that the project can move forward.

Mills said he and Mark Letchworth, WCS director of maintenance, met at the WCC campus on Wednesday to begin work on the survey requirements for the WAAT building.

“If you will remember, there was some interest at the community college in increasing the gym from what we had initially thought, which I think is a good thing for all of us,” Mills said. “That will affect the surveying piece, and there could be some things in a state of flux as we go forward.”

Mills said the Wilson Community College Foundation and Wilson Community College Board of Trustees “are very supportive and we are just getting started.”

WCS learned in November that the district had been chosen for the state funding to build the WAAT school.

Since then, Mills and school officials have been steadily advancing the project, and the pace of developments is now moving quickly.

“There will indeed be a lot more for you to be informed of and to make decisions about once we get to the next several steps,” Mills said. “But the next big step next is to get the bids back from the architects and make that decision.”