09/16/08 — School board to examine $23 million building plan

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School board to examine $23 million building plan

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 16, 2008 1:37 PM

School officials got their first glimpse of what $23 million in initial construction projects will look like Monday, as the architectural firm hired by the district unveiled design proposals for four schools -- Brogden Primary and Eastern Wayne, Norwayne and Greenwood middle schools.

EW Middle School

News-Argus photo

Eastern Wayne Middle School is one of several schools that will be included in facilities design proposals that will be presented to members of the Wayne County Board of Education at a special called meeting Thursday.

The Board of Education's facilities committee recommended the schematics be taken to the full board, calling a meeting for Thursday at noon.

Katherine Peele of LS3P in Raleigh presented the architectural report and projected timeline for the construction and renovation projects.

She also reviewed details of the four initial school projects, which could start as early as next summer.

The projects include:

*Eastern Wayne Middle School with a new two-story classroom building, creating a new "front door" to the school, improved and expanded parent drop-off area and front parking lot, gymnasium and administrative wing.

"Our goal here is to give it a new appearance," Ms. Peele said, adding that long-term plans are to also replace the school's media center.

*Greenwood Middle: adding four classrooms, demolishing the connector building and adding staff restrooms.

*Brogden Primary: building a standalone cafetorium, move parent drop-off area to rear of site.

The cafetorium will feature a multi-purpose room, stage and office for P.E. staff, Ms. Peele explained, as well as a movable wall between the dining area and playroom.

*Mount Olive Middle: basic renovation work, upgrade restrooms, renovate cafeteria, air condition kitchen and gymnasium, redesign front parking area and remove tree roots.

*Norwayne: add two-story 24-classroom building, demolish two existing buildings, connect new construction to existing structures.

Upon approval by the full board, the projects are still on schedule to begin spring 2009 with bidding, Ms. Peele said. Plans are to seek funding approval from the Local Governing Commission in April of 2009, she added.

On that timeline, construction would begin in the summer, with projects expected to be substantially completed by August 2010.

A conversation with the county commission and Lee Smith, county manager, will also be part of the equation, said Sprunt Hill, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services.

"To make sure of their schedule, to make sure that we are on the same page and we're talking about the LGC when we're talking about the timeline," he explained.

While it's still early in the process, officials are optimistic that some of the long-awaited construction plans are coming to fruition.

"You have got to do it in phases and pieces," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of schools. "It's complicated but I feel really good about where we are. I feel good about the drawings and the plans.

"I really think our parents, our kids, our staff and our community should be pleased."