07/14/14 — School staff to offer input on building

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School staff to offer input on building

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 14, 2014 1:46 PM

Before moving ahead with a $6.6 million project to add 20 classrooms and to renovate the cafeteria at Charles B. Aycock High School, architects are being encouraged to get more input from administrators and staff at the school.

Representatives from Moseley Architects presented a project update to the Wayne County Board of Education this past week, with two possible options for the plan -- which includes two English classrooms, two math classrooms and additional physical science class and lab, exceptional children's class and life skills class with institutional kitchen, as well as the expanded dining room and renovated kitchen space.

The plan was to have design development and construction documents completed between July and October, Moseley Vice President Jim Copeland told the board. The next step would be a review of the plans by the Department of Insurance, the Department of Public Instruction and the county Board of Commissioners, followed by the bidding process at the end of October.

But school board Vice Chairman Chris West, who represents District 1, said he believes more input from the main stakeholders -- those working at the school -- would be beneficial before the project proceeds.

"This is long overdue and certainly needed for quite some time," he said of the project, expressing concern about the overcrowding in the lunchroom and additional classrooms to offset the number of modular units on the campus. "I'm glad that it's coming closer and closer every day. However, I hate to see us go into a major renovation and not meet the needs that we have out there."

West suggested the school's administrators and staff would have valuable insight into addressing the most pressing needs.

"I like the layout of the building. I like the design," he told Copeland. "Before we start shoveling dirt out there, which I wish we were doing today, I just want to see us get the most bang for the buck."

He said a similar route was taken with regard to building new schools for Grantham and Spring Creek.

"We were able to involve the principals of both of those schools from day one," West said.

Copeland said he had met with the Aycock principal, Dr. Earl Moore, and agreed that the school has "a lot of needs."

"We could spend $16 million out there, easily," he said.

But the chief purpose of the project is to rid the campus of the modular units and bring students inside, he said.

"We voted on these projects and need to go forward with them," said board member Dr. Dwight Cannon, who reminded those present that every school has a "laundry list" of things that need to be done.

Copeland said he had no problem meeting further with the principal, staff and facilities committee to finesse the plans into what works best there.

Board member Arnold Flowers asked about the status of another project Moseley was hired to do, a 12-classroom addition at Spring Creek Elementary.

Copeland said within the next 30 to 45 days, he could provide an update on the proposal for that school.

"Last time I checked, there were 20 mobile units out there," Flowers said.

He agreed with the board in wanting to get students out of modular units and into regular classrooms. At the same time, he added, that doesn't seem to be happening as it should.

"Every time we go back, they're always in the way. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet," he said. "But as a county, I don't think we need mobile units. We need to build classrooms."

In March, the board approved a contract with Moseley, of Morrisville, to handle $12 million in proposed renovations and small projects at five schools. These included $1.9 million earmarked for the central attendance area, including a new student commons area at Goldsboro High School and air conditioning the gymnasiums at Dillard Middle and Carver Heights Elementary schools. The budget also included $3.9 million for classrooms at Spring Creek Elementary and the $6.6 million CBA projects.