Council to take up money transfer, noise ordinance

Published 9:48 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

Suffolk City Council will consider the school division’s request to transfer $1 million in unspent capital project money to go toward the first phase of a new Schools Operations Facility at the former Mount Zion Elementary School.

Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney, in a Feb. 6 letter to City Manager Patrick Roberts, said that two large capital projects, the new Florence Bowser Elementary School and Col. Fred Cherry Middle School “have been significantly closed out” and have come in under budget and on time.

Suffolk Public Schools said the approved budget for phase one of the operations facility project is $4 million, but even after “value engineering” and negotiations, the lowest construction bid is $4.2 million, with other costs — architect and engineering, estimated city and Hampton Roads Sanitation District fees, furniture and equipment and contingency costs — bringing the total cost of the project to $5 million.

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“Transfer of the balance in the two completed (new schools) capital projects to the Operations Facility Phase I project would allow this project to be awarded,” Whitney said in the letter.

Whitney said the project has been a long-term request in the school division’s Capital Improvements Program and Plan.

City Council will also take up an ordinance to limit construction noise. Currently, the city’s ordinance prohibits construction noise from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The ordinance would extend that prohibition by another hour to 7 a.m.

Councilman Mike Duman asked for the limit to construction time at the last meeting due to an ongoing project in the Eclipse neighborhood. He said other localities do not allow construction to begin until 7 or 8 a.m.

Duman said the Tidewater Builders Association told him that there was no need for construction to start as early as 6 a.m.

Other items on the agenda include a public hearing on a resolution to adopt the proposed $963.6 million Capital Improvements Program and Plan for fiscal years 2019-2020 through 2028-2029, and a conditional use permit to allow a day care center on property at 400 Finney Ave.

The city’s staff report about the day care center says its proposed enrollment would be for up to 87 children, with 16 people working there. The facility would initially operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a plan to extend its operation to 24 hours. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the day care at its Jan. 15 meeting.