Boswell reverses on Dare COA bill
By Reggie Ponder
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Legislation sought by both Dare County and College of The Albemarle officials that would make NC Connect bond funding available for construction of new COA facilities in Dare has been introduced in the N.C. General Assembly.
State Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare, filed the bill about a week ago. Boswell opposed similar legislation last year, and at her request Dare County was removed from a bill that made the bond funds available for a COA-related project in Currituck.
Boswell could not be reached for comment Monday.
Last year’s bill was sponsored by state Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, who has signed on as a co-sponsor of Boswell’s Dare facilities bill.
Steinburg said Monday he is delighted that the legislation is moving forward.
Steinburg said he recently spent a couple of hours looking at COA facilities in Dare County with COA Dare County Campus Dean Tim Sweeney and became more aware than ever of the campus’s need.
COA President Robert Wynegar said Monday he was pleased that the legislation was moving forward.
“We’re very excited that we’re going to have a chance to get some new facilities down there,” Wynegar said.
Wynegar said a Dare County task force that has been working on facility and curriculum recommendations for COA’s Dare Campus is expected to make a report to the Dare County Board of Commissioners on June 18. At that meeting — or soon afterward — there likely will be additional information about a probable timetable for facility construction, he said.
Wynegar said he expects the project to start moving forward within the next year.
The proposed legislation states “trustees of the College of the Albemarle may expend State funds appropriated for capital improvements, including Connect NC Bond funds, for the construction and renovation of educational facilities owned by and located on property owned by a county within the service area of the College of the Albemarle” and indicates that the provision extends to “construction of two facilities and renovation of a third facility located in Dare County. The facilities would house community college transfer programs and health care, public safety, and other vocational community college programs for adults and for high school students participating in Career and College Promise programs.”
The special legislation is necessary because the Dare and Currituck facilities are owned by those counties, and state law does not allow community college capital funds to be used for facilities not owned by the community college itself.
COA’s main campus in Elizabeth City is owned by the community college but campuses in Dare, Currituck and Chowan are owned by those counties.
Under Boswell’s bill, as in the legislation sponsored by Steinburg last year, use of the funds will require a long-term lease for the community college at the county-owned facilities.