Schools jostle for renovation funds

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 05:08 PM

The Central High group of concerned parents, students and school staff is one of several seeking to use leftovers from the 2008 bond program for major renovations.

Smith High School parents and staff have complained to the Guilford County Board of Education that their Greensboro school, built in 1963 and last renovated in 2001, has security problems in locker rooms, making thefts a concern.
“This is not the image that Smith High School wants to project to the public,” Donna Matthews, a curriculum specialist, told the board recently. “No student should tolerate the conditions found in these locker rooms.”
“Students deserve secure locker rooms,” said Lisa Comito, an assistant principal.
There also have been complaints of mold, mildew and insects.
“There is a need to have what other high schools have,” said Arthur Fleming, an assistant principal at Smith High.
Western High School parents say the athletics fields at their school need to be handicapped-accessible and the girls softball field needs bleachers and lights. The school, built in 1968, was last renovated in 2001. 
The district also could expand Western High instead of sending students to a new school, said Sheri Bergen, co-president of the Parent Teacher Student Organization.
“The district also must maintain school properties,” Bergen said.
In Greensboro, Dudley High has received athletic improvements and classroom renovations while Grimsley High has a new gym and will get a cafeteria upgrade. Northwest High School also received athletic improvements and Page High is scheduled for an upgrade.
Last fall, the school board learned that the district needs to spend $1.2 billion on renovations, new schools and additions over the next 10 years. Renovations on the list total $934 million, additions $104 million, replacement schools $112 million and new schools $85 million.
High Point Central is on the list for a renovation or expansion costing as much as $41 million, Western High for as much as $33 million in upgrades and Smith High for an expansion or replacement of as much as $28 million. Among the three schools, Central has the greatest need, with a Facility Condition Index of 1.03, Western is next with .87,  followed by Smith at .83. The index evaluates school facility renovation and replacement costs compared to the value of the school.  An index of 1.0 or greater balances in favor of replacement, according to the report.
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