Central Supporters Want a Makeover

Nov. 28, 2012 @ 10:11 PM

Central High School needs more classroom space, and a larger cafeteria and media center, according to school supporters.

HIGH POINT —  Parents, students, teachers and alumni of Central High School sounded off Wednesday for needed school improvements they feel have been neglected for years.
During a community forum at Southwest Guilford High School, scores of school supporters gathered to convince the Board of Education to use $72 million approved for a proposed new high school near Piedmont Triad International Airport for school renovations.
Although voters approved construction bonds in 2008 for the new school, the school board started talking about changing plans after Kernersville officials denied last June the zoning needed to build a school on 115 acres in an industrial park on the Forsyth County border.
Central supporters have lobbied for weeks to get on a major renovations list if the school board decides not to build the school.
“We have 16 teachers floating from room to room and our cafeteria is too small,” said parent Brian Hall.
The school cafeteria, which seats 150, is not large enough for all students to eat there during lunch times. Many students go off campus to eat, several supporters said.
“Too many students go out to eat and some do not get lunch at all,” Hall said. “We need a general makeover at the school. We’d like to see money spent for improvements.” 
Several students also complained of needed repairs for bathrooms and athletic facilities.  Central supporters gave the school board a petition with 900 signatures in favor of major renovations.
“The school environment is less than ideal,” said Thomas Jarrell III, student body president. “In the bathrooms, some of the stalls have no doors and some of the toilets are missing seats.”
The media center is just 46 percent of the size needed to meet standards, said Cynthia Vaughn, a school media specialist. Because the library is so small not as many books get to students, she said.
“And we have to turn students away,” Vaughn said.
Several alumni complained that little has changed at the school for as long as 30 years.
“All I have seen is a new awning and it is red, not our color,” said District Court Judge Thomas Jarrell, a 1981 graduate.
The new school could relieve overcrowding at several area schools, including Northwest, Southwest and Western Guilford High schools, but growth estimates show that enrollment has leveled off at several of the schools.
Meanwhile, Central High enrollment continues to grow with projections showing it could grow from 1,424 students to 1,641 by 2022.
The Board of Commissioners also would have to approve financing a different project. So far, the school district has spent about $3.2 million on the new school. The proposed school site was valued at $10 million.