08/02/07 — School board to vote on building plan Monday

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School board to vote on building plan Monday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 2, 2007 1:46 PM

The Wayne County School's prioritized facilities plan is expected to be approved at Monday night's meeting of the Board of Education. It will then be up to the county commission to debate funding.

A board work session to list projects in order was held July 10. By combining several, the 17-item list was pared down to nine. The price tag on the facilities plan, however, remained the same -- $105 million.

The 90-minute meeting was very productive, said Sprunt Hill, special assistant to the superintendent for auxiliary services. Now it's just a matter of protocol.

"It will be presented Monday night for approval, which has to be done in public session," he explained. "Following that we will be waiting to hear from Lee Smith, county manager, and from county commissioners as to what they want to do next."

Consolidating the list of needs proved simple compared to what remains -- how to pay for them all, or any portion thereof.

For more than two years, the commission and school board have been at loggerheads over the burgeoning needs in schools around the county and how the tab will be paid.

The latest step, finalizing the priorities list, came at the behest of the commission.

There were few surprises when the facilities plan was revamped, as the bulk of projects have long been held up for debate. The only new wrinkle is that now several of the items are packaged together.

Brogden Primary remains in the top spot, with $4.4 million proposed to expand the cafetorium, replace doors, upgrade the student drop-off and handle upgrades to such areas as heating and electrical.

Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools were second on the list, with $13.2 million earmarked for demolition and replacement with a two-story unit for classrooms, as well as air conditioning the gymnasiums and renovating cafeterias.

Third was Mount Olive Middle, $2.2 million expected to cover renovations to the cafeteria and and a smattering of maintenance projects.

Six schools in the central attendance area will divide $8.8 million, primarily covering renovations and upgrades.

Rounding out the top five, $3.8 million was designated for Spring Creek Elementary, providing new classrooms and maintenance projects.

The school system is also looking at phase two of its performance contract, which Hill explained as being separate from the facilities plan.

"We're looking at that to tie in to the projects of performance contracting -- such as replacing lights, upgrading boilers, transformers, which will help us in energy savings," he said. "It will run parallel with the facilities plan.

"That's separate as far as finances. We can do that with the Local Government Commission, take the savings from the retrofits to pay for it."

The expenses would not interfere with any possible bond money the district may get, Hill said.

"However, it is an update to our facilities plan," he noted.

School officials remain optimistic about the possibility of resolving some of the needs in the school system, Hill said.

"We're excited about the opportunity to open dialogue that we have had with the Board of Education and the county commissioners and we look forward to actually building new schools and retrofitting our older schools," he said.