10/16/08 — Edgewood gets look as boards evaluate facilities

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Edgewood gets look as boards evaluate facilities

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 16, 2008 1:46 PM

While construction on district schools is months away, school officials met Wednesday to discuss several anticipated needs -- modular units on sites during renovations, expanding Southern Wayne High's diesel academy and additional classroom space at the district's sole school for the developmentally disabled.

Sprunt Hill, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services, was given the go-ahead to investigate costs on each by the Wayne Board of Education's Facilities Committee.

Although none of the items discussed are part of the schools' budget, space is a concern that must be addressed, Hill said.

Attendance is "way up" at Edgewood Community Developmental School this year, requiring a lounge area to be converted back to use as a classroom.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, capacity at the school should be 100 students. There are 117 students currently enrolled.

"We have gone out and looked. They are out of space at this developmental school," Hill said. "We're about three classrooms shy there and we would like to have (modular units) there."

Officials are looking at the possibility of acquiring a quad trailer, which would offer four classrooms, if they can get a good price, Hill said.

Several changes have already been made to accommodate the burgeoning school.

"We've moved teachers that were based at Edgewood, we have now moved them to Goldsboro Intermediate and are using three classrooms there because of numbers at Edgewood," he said.

The specialized school "serves a wonderful purpose," Hill said, noting that a number of military families are drawn to the area because of it.

At the same time, space is now at a premium there and modular units may be the only answer.

"It will have to, of course, meet all the codes with the ramps, changing rooms, etc. but I think it would be the less expensive way of adding on a room there," he said.

"Why the sudden increase in population out there?" asked Pete Gurley, board member and facilities committee chairman.

"There are just more people identified that need to be placed in that school," replied Dr. Steve Taylor, schools superintendent.

Representatives from Southern Wayne High School were also on hand to discuss the need for an additional shop to accommodate its diesel academy, introduced this year.

Rudolph West, a teacher in the program, presented a floor plan outlining the 1,700-square-foot addition.

"Right now, we have a nationally certified automotive program at Southern Wayne, which right now has the smallest automotive shop in Wayne County, smaller than Charles B. Aycock and Eastern Wayne," he said. "If we're trying to run two programs out of one shop, we have a safety issue."

A larger shop is needed for the academy, which is offered in conjunction with Johnston County Community College. Officials said they anticipated this going in, but knew they could get by for one year with existing space.

At this point, the only class that can't be taught -- preventive maintenance -- has not come up on the schedule yet, West said. Once it does, it will require room for bulkier equipment.

A metal building extension could serve the purpose, Hill said. Added on to the existing school building, the two programs could share a tool room and not have to create another one.

Choosing the most cost effective method of funding the project is the next step, Hill said.

"Actually we have not even put in a budget -- we have just been in the early stages of talking," Hill said. "We're looking at a lot of areas, half-cent sales tax for one. But we would not do any of that unless we came back and gave (the committee) an estimate of what it would cost."

Moving forward with the proposed timeline for the district facilities plan, Hill said there will be a need for some modular units at Eastern Wayne and Norwayne middle schools rather than have to close down entire campuses once demolition begins.

He discussed several options, including pricing mobile units that could be used throughout the construction cycle, be they rented or leased to own, as well as auctioning off older units in the district.

The timeline for some of the projects is expected to be ready around Oct. 20, Hill said.

"What we would love to do is move our kids into these modular units at Easter and then do the actual demolition, the abatement of the asbestos before you tear it down, so that they can start wide open this summer with the construction part," he said.

With that time frame in mind Hill said he can't wait until January to begin taking action.

"I know we're pushing but with this timeline coming down from the (Local Government Commission) and the LS3P (architectural firm), we're moving at a pace that as soon as we get approved with the LGC and have everything in place and we can move the students, begin the abatement, that construction can begin so that there won't be a delay in moving the project forward," he said.