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Watauga County Board of Commissioners Meets Tuesday, Update on Proposed Rec Center

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners meets on Tuesday, July 18 at 5:30 p.m. for its bi-monthly meeting. Major agenda items relate to the proposed community recreation center.

Watauga County Finance Director Margaret Pierce will request the commissioners adopt a capital project ordinance for the proposed community recreation center. The ordinance will recognize an initial amount of $10 million on hand for the project. According to a memo from County Manager Deron Geouque to the commissioners, “The ordinance will be amended in the future to recognize the full funding of the project.

A second related agenda item is the Geouque’s update on the project to the commissioners. According to a memo included in this evening’s meeting packet:

“Staff continues to work with ASU to finish the closing process for the old high school and Lowes properties. On June 30, 2017 the RFQ for the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) was published. The mandatory pre-proposal conference for the CMAR was held on July 11, 2017. July 14, 2017 is the deadline for RFQ questions with July 24, 2017 as the due date for the RFQ proposals. On July 24, 2017 the architect will meet with the County to review current programming and future planning and scheduling. In addition, staff will be reviewing RFQ’s during July 25 through 28, 2017 with a recommendation to the Board at the Aug. 22, 2017 meeting.

The Board may wish to appoint a committee or members to assist staff with review of the RFQ’s and future programming and planning of the new Community/Recreation Center.”

In April, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners agreed to sell the 75-acre old Watauga High School property for $15.5 million to Appalachian State University. In the deal, the county also received 3.5 acres on State Farm Road, which is a former Lowe’s property.

The county will receive payments spread out over nearly 20 years. The acreage will tie into the current recreation infrastructure that exists off of State Farm Road, and the expansion of county property here will allow room for a recreation center.

In June, the commissioners raised property taxes to fund the rec center and infrastructure improvements for Watauga County Schools. As for how much the rec center will cost, the $30 million figure has been tossed around. 

The closing of the property is expected to occur by Sept. 30. 

Other Agenda Items

W.A.M.Y. Community Action will request support for a housing preservation grant to allow low-income families to repair their homes. The application requires support from local government officials.

Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder will request the board’s approval of a five-year contract for voting machines and software with Elections Systems & Software/Printelect. The contract is for $18,751.40 annually.

Watauga County Emergency Services Director Jeff Virginia will request the board’s approval of four maintenance contracts with Wireless Communications Inc. and one contract with High Country Council of Governments for the county’s E911 system and Emergency Management Radio systems:

  • VESTA (Patriot System) Maintenance, $56,842.80
  • the Console Infrastructure Maintenance, $12,900
  • the Fixed Equipment Maintenance, $13,164
  • Subscribers Maintenance, $7,896
  • Centerline Maintenance contract with HCCG for $50 hourly rate, not to exceed $6,000

The contracts are already budgeted.

See full meeting packet here. See agenda below.