March 18th 2010
Dear Parents, Teachers, Staff, and Students:
In the last month it has been clearly visible on campus that construction activity has begun! I know there is a fair amount of excitement about the campus expansion and an equal amount of skepticism. In this update I’m going to summarize the various activities that have been going on and try to address some of the questions that have been asked.
Working with Moseley Architects and CLH Design we received final master plan approval from the Town of Morrisville during the last week of 2009. The master plan addresses critical site improvements including carpool and fire lanes, additional classrooms, a multi-purpose pavilion with a sport court, and improvement of the playing field. The first two months of this year were spent on permitting and earlier this month we received permits for water, sewer, paving and grading around the site, and the building foundation. We are currently working with the Town of Morrisville on a storm water plan that includes a bio-retention pond to ensure that the drainage issues on campus are addressed. We hope to receive this approval next week and prepare for ground breaking!
In order to support the campus expansion the Board has, in the last year, been pursuing purchase of an unimproved parcel adjacent to Townhall Drive and Treybrooke Drive, and a second unimproved parcel adjacent to the Airport Boulevard extension easement. The additional 3.96 acres allows us to create a separate carpool lane for the upper school that has an entry/exit off Town Hall Drive and dedicate the existing carpool lanes to the lower school with entry/exit off Treybrooke Drive. Addition of a parent drop-off area for the lower school will further increase the safety of our children. After much negotiation the Town of Morrisville approved the purchase of this land with minimal road improvements that are required per the Town Ordinances. The closing for the parcel was recorded on February 11th with a cash payment of $80,000 and a very generous tax-deductible endowment by the seller. We are now working on formal re-combination of the existing site and the new parcels which will bring the total campus area to 17.9 acres.
Earlier this year I reported that we closed on a $4M loan from BB&T successfully consolidating all our existing debt. In addition we have been working to secure the required capital financing for planned expansion of the campus. Working with various legal counsels and the bank a tremendous amount of work was put into the application for tax exempt educational facilities revenue bonds. The application was submitted last month and on March 1st we received approval for issuance of bonds from the North Carolina Capital Facilities Finance Agency (NCCFFA) for an amount not to exceed $10.6M. This includes repayment of the $4M loan from BB&T to take advantage of the lower bond interest rates. Just this morning we formally closed the bond transaction ensuring that we have appropriate financing to make the revised master site plan a reality!
Last month Barnhill Contracting Company, whom we have engaged for the construction, mobilized on campus putting up fences to ensure complete safety of the staff and students at all times. Barnhill will be working the construction in phases in order to minimize the impact to school operations. While school is in session for the next months they will focus on the new classroom building. Once we begin our summer holidays they will work on the multi-purpose pavilion, re-grading the soccer fields, and improving the carpool lanes.
I will continue to provide these updates and post information on the Sterling website in an effort to share as much information as possible. So please stay tuned, extend your patience, and whenever possible a helping hand as we deal with the temporary inconveniences of expansion and beautification of our campus in line with our strategic plan.
As always if you have any questions feel free to reach out to our Director Bill Zajic or myself.
President, LHU Board