Officials from Sampson County Schools are continuing to make strides with the construction of the track project at Hobbton High School.
It was recently announced that bids will be put out for the work. Mark Hammond, executive director of auxiliary services for the district, updated the school board during a discussion about capital outlay projects. He reported that preliminary steps such as inspections and approvals from officials are now complete.
In addition to the track, the proposed project also includes space for a high jump, pole vault and soccer field. The request began after Jeff Klaves, then-track coach for Hobbton, made a presentation to the Sampson County Board of Education. During his time at the school in the Newton Grove area, the team received a lot of accolades, but were still the only high school in the county without a track.
During the meeting, there was a sense of urgency to complete the project.
“That’s another thing,” said board chairman Tim Register. “We would like to have it functional in the spring when track comes around.”
Depending on weather, Hammond said it could take five to six months to complete, after bids are finalized and approved. A bid process could take up to 90 days to complete, but Hammonds said he could set deadline dates for response at just three weeks if necessary.
“We can’t wait,” Register said. “We need to try to move if we can.”
Board member Telfair Simpson and other board members suggested Oct. 1, 2017 or earlier as a time to present bids for construction. While discussing the time factor, it was also expressed that eligible contractors should not be rushed because they may turn down the work if they believe there’s too much pressure involved.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Hammond said. “It does make a lot of sense to go ahead and get the numbers in so we know exactly what we’re looking at. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it begins to become bad business sometimes, with something like this, and you have contractors who take a lot of time to estimate.
“That’s a big project and it’s going to take them a lot of time to get good solid estimates,” he said.
The estimated cost of the project is close to $350,000 to $400,000. Sampson County commissioners assisted by providing money too. Commissioners assisted by providing $150,000 in November 2016 through a 4-1 vote, following presentations from student-athletes and Klaves. An additional $100,000 had also been raised by school supporters as of earlier this year.
“It’s there in my mind, I just think we need to stay committed to it and see it through,” Board Member Dewain Sinclair about the finances.
The bids would be for construction and not track equipment, which can be purchased at a later date, school officials said. Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said there’s an opportunity to receive financial assistance for items.
“We’re looking for a grant to pay for those things,” Bracy said.
Fundraisers from the school’s booster club and the use of lottery funds, aimed toward education, were other ideas mentioned.