Comission Roundup: Wake Tech Bond on November Ballot

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Along with casting their vote for the next president, Wake County voters will decide the fate of a $200 million bond that would fund future construction and renovation at Wake Technical Community College.

The bond won’t require a property tax increase.

The $200 million will be combined with $10.2 million that the county already has on hand.

If approved by voters Nov. 6, the bond would fund additional buildings at the Northern Wake campus, construction of a Research Triangle Park campus, repairs and renovations for the existing buildings and the completion of the Public Safety Campus.

“Currently, 6,000 students are on a waitlist for classes at Wake Tech,” said college president Stephen Scott.

Scott said the new buildings will house new programs in information technology that will complement the school’s partnership with NetApp Inc. and SAS.

“This is about jobs,” he said.

Scott was one of two people who spoke in favor of the bond during the public hearing Monday. No one spoke against it.

NetApp Gets Business Incentive
Research Triangle Park-based data company
NetApp Inc. has already promised to stick around, but Wake County Commissioners are making its stay a little sweeter with a business incentive grant.

NetApp officials have said that they will invest at least $75 million in a data center and research and development lab in RTP. They estimate the investment will create 460 high-paying jobs. The average salary and benefits for one of those positions will be $100,000.

The county will pay NetApp a total of 2.25 percent of the increased value in real estate and personal property added to the county’s tax base as a result of the project. Payments will be made during the next eight years.

Wake County will also invest $700,000 in water, sewer and reclaimed water infrastructure for the project. To qualify for the grant, NetApp must invest at least $50 million and complete construction by 2014.

NetApp will receive the grant only after it has made the initial investment and paid all of its property taxes.

Courthouse Construction Contract Awarded
The sixth floor of the Wake County Courthouse is getting a $930,000 facelift, a decision unanimously approved by Commissioners.

Although a new courthouse is being built across the street, the old courthouse will still be used for some court functions after construction is complete.

Commissioners awarded the construction contract to Greensboro-based firm H.M. Kern Corporation.

About 12,000 square feet of floor space will be renovated and upfitted. It will provide offices for court-associated programs, bulk file storage space and bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A new, energy-efficient HVAC unit will be installed and the plumbing and electrical systems will be upgraded.

Public Schools to Lease County-Owned Building
Wake County Public Schools will lease the county-owned A.A. Thompson building on Hargett Street in Downtown Raleigh for $1 a year.

The school district will be responsible for any renovations and operating costs.

The Thompson building was originally a school, but it was closed in 1971. It has since housed county offices or nonprofit organizations.

The building will house the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy, which will begin its school year on a modular campus on Spring Forest Road. The district expects to begin transitioning the school to the downtown location as soon as the renovation work is completed, which will likely be during the 2013-14 school year.

The A.A. Thompson Building on Hargett Street. Photo by Young Men's Leadership Academy.

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