The walls will come tumbling down really soon at the old COA building in Manteo. Built in the late 1950s, the building has served many purposes over the years.
Originally it was the new Manteo High School. When the current school was built, it became Manteo Middle School. And finally it became the center piece of the College of the Albemarle (COA) Dare County Campus.
Unfortunately over its 60 year history a lot of structural problems have come to light.
The auditorium, which for years was the home of the Theatre of Dare, is at the low point of a poorly drained field and water damage in it has made the facility unusable.
The ground itself is unstable and cracks have developed in the foundation.
Perhaps most concerning, though, the buildings rife with black mold. Experts who have looked at the building do not believe the mold can be permanently eradicated because the building sits in what was once a marsh.
Demolishing the building will take two to three months with some of the mortar and brick being used to resurface service roads in county facilities—an effective cost saving move.
What the New COA Building Will Have
In its place a new COA building will rise. This one built to modern codes that include the engineering needed to property drain and stabilize the ground.
The new building, with a $7-8 million price tag, is designed to meet the changing needs of future students. Classrooms will be flexible with the ability to change from a food service module to a standard classroom, as an example.
The building will also be wired for WIFI.
Dare County has consistently made investment in its students a priority. The county has one of the most generous supplements to teacher salaries in the state. Recently, the board of commissioners voted to pay the tuition of county students who wish to earn their associate degree from COA.
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