High school will soon be connected to natural gas line

By Michael Howlett Staff Writer

October 5, 2013

The Carroll County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) awarded the project that will connect the natural gas pipeline to Carroll County High School to Mastec North America, Inc. during its Sept. 26 meeting.

Although the IDA sent advertisements to 16 contractors and the project was advertised on the IDA website, Mastec was the only company to bid on the project. Mastec, which has previously worked for the IDA, bid $73,637.15.

County Administrator Gary Larrowe said he and E. Scott Heath, president and CEO of Heath and Associates, Inc., which has been consulting with the IDA on the project, were expecting a bid of around $75,000. Larrowe said the county had $100,000 for the project in the budget.

“Mastec is hoping to have gas to the high school within two weeks,” said Earl Hagee, a former employee of Mastech and now the head of the county’s natural gas department. “By (Oct. 5), they plan to start work on school property.”

Hagee told the board that the Wellness Center and Barker Microfarads were already connected to the natural gas line, and that two other businesses, one of which is Virginia Produce, have expressed interest.

Larrowe also informed the board that the cost of designing the STEM lab at the high school would be $29,140. The Lane Group of Big Stone Gap is doing the design work. Dennis Cole, the county’s clerk of works, said the project was being pursued “aggressively.” Cole added that it was hoped the design and bids could be completed during the next six weeks.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.