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State ready to go on building repair binge

RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration has decided how it wants to spend millions of dollars to repair and renovate North Carolina government buildings after years of budget pinching.

The state budget office described Monday how it wants to spend $90 million the General Assembly earmarked to improve state agency buildings. Lawmakers also voted this year to allocate $60 million to fix University of North Carolina system buildings.

McCrory’s two-year budget proposal had sought to set aside a combined $300 million for all repairs and renovations through mid-2015. He said earlier this year that mending state government infrastructure was a leading priority of his administration.

Before this fiscal year, elected officials had provided less than $70 million in net funds for repairs and renovations to UNC and state buildings since mid-2009.

“This is the first step of fulfilling my promise to the people of North Carolina to rebuild and repair state facilities that have been ignored for far too long,” McCrory said in a news release.

The 191 recommended agency projects includes retooling windows at the old Capitol building, painting the Thomas Wolfe House in Asheville and repairing the fire and security system at Tryon Palace in New Bern. Other projects focus on exterior building waterproofing, heating and air conditioning unit replacements.

The Department of Administration, which manages state buildings, said contracts could be in place for many projects before Christmas if a legislative oversight committee reviews the list soon.

Most of the state building improvements are under $500,000 and don’t require bonding, which should assist smaller construction firms and historically underutilized businesses in the competitive bidding, the department said.

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