Members of the Halifax County School Board interviewed three architects in a closed session meeting on Thursday as part of the Halifax County High School project.

In December, the school board decided to reject the PPEA (Public-Private Partnership Act) and interview Moseley Architects, RRMM Architects and Grimm + Parker Architects.

The high school project, said school board chair Kathy Fraley prior to the meeting, is like a “dark cloud hovering over the county.

“We’re just taking this one step at a time,” she added.

The school board has been given a budget of $109 million by the Halifax County Board of Supervisors for a new high school.

The board previously approved staff to begin securing $135 million in funding with $105 million used for a new high school, $25 million used for elementary school renovations and $5 million saved for contingency. The school board also has $4 million in ESSER funds that can be used toward the high school, which would bring the amount for that project to $109 million.

Bond Counsel has indicated a tax-exempt requirement of an initial 3-year reasonable expectation to spend the funds, according to county staff, prompting a need to determine elementary school needs.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg said on Thursday that county administrator Scott Simpson briefed him on that.

“We’ll have to work out way through that,” said Lineburg. “I think our board will continue to work together to resolve issues.”

Meanwhile Fraley said, “Certainly the elementary schools are out there for discussion. We’re trying to take care of the high school first.”

All in all, the school board chair said they’re doing everything they can to do what’s right for the county and to be fiscally responsible.

“The most important thing is we just want to make sure we make the best decision for our county,” said Fraley.

“We are taking things slowly. We want to do everything we can do make sure money is spent well. Whatever decision we make is going to last the county the next 35 to 40 years.”