03/05/06 — Paramount - Goldsboro High another option?

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Paramount - Goldsboro High another option?

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 5, 2006 2:13 AM



News-Argus Staff Writers

Committee members said debate over the $12 million price tag led them to pursue alternatives to plans to build a new theater on Center Street.

One option they looked into was the potential purchase by the city of Goldsboro High School. Their intention -- use the existing facilities to accommodate both a performing arts theater and a community center.

Along with Mayor Al King, Huffman and Allen met with members of the Wayne County School Board Feb. 9 to examine the option. They came with a list of pros and cons and a proposal.

Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of schools, attended the meeting along with Board of Education members Pete Gurley, Rick Pridgen and Thelma Smith.

"(Joe Huffman) called and asked us to come over and talk to them," Taylor said. "We didn't know what the meeting was about until we got there."

Taylor said they were given the rationale for what officials thought would be beneficial for the city, but school board members made it clear "that the board in the past has not endorsed an idea and had no plans to sell Goldsboro High School."

"I think the members that were there said that this idea had come up before and the board had been unanimous in their decision not to go that route," he said.

The bottom line, Taylor said, "is if you sell Goldsboro High School, another high school will have to be built" -- an estimated $30 million-plus expenditure.

"That's a perfectly fine high school and a nice facility. To replace it and move to somewhere else is an option the board would not be ready to entertain at this point," he said.

But committee members had done their research and said the results seemed to indicate that GHS was underpopulated, with fewer students enrolled there each year.

Allen said the space could be better utilized as a theater/community center. That way, he added, the only costs associated with either project would be for renovations and a few additions to existing buildings.

Taylor said all space at the school is being utilized.

"Right now, the numbers are over 700 (students). The true capacity is, after you consider the rooms used for WISH Center, labs, and the Wade Edwards Learning Lab (also used by the community and after-school), the space at Goldsboro High is not what it was 30 years ago when you didn't have all these programs. We don't have any space to absorb these kids."

And so, at the conclusion of the meeting, Allen said it was clear that the committee's idea wasn't going to pan out.