Central tops new needs list

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 06:49 PM

High Point Central High School tops a new $132 million proposed schools renovations list at $23 million for cafeteria and media center expansions.

The Guilford County Board of Education looked over the list, which also includes renovations for Kirkman Park and Northwood Elementary schools, Saturday during a retreat.
The Citizens for Central group, which has lobbied the school board for months, wants as much as $40 million for a major renovation. District officials started work on renovations lists after deciding not to spend $75 million for a new high school near Piedmont Triad International Airport and land for a nearby middle school.
“Thank you for listening to High Point,” said board member Ed Price of High Point. “With this renovation, Central could again become a flagship school and set the tone for the next 25 to 35 years. This would be a dream come true. It is past due.”
The revised 10-year Facilities Master Plan calls for a relocation of the media center into a freestanding, 15,000 square-foot building with a dining hall across from the school cafeteria. The remainder of the money would go into general campus upgrades in heating and air conditioning and parking. The media center would be converted into classroom space.
“There would be a satellite cafeteria and the kitchen would still be used,” said Robert Melton, district director of facilities management. “This would be a comprehensive renovation.”
The Central group wants major cafeteria and media center renovations and more classrooms to reduce crowding.
“There have been two teachers working out of a closet,” Price said. “We need proper office space for our teachers.”
The report puts no priority on the projects and does not say where all the renovation money would come from, however.  
The district renovations list totals $193 million, said Chairman Alan Duncan.
“Next we will have to narrow down the list with priorities. We know we’ll have additional money, but not enough for all these projects.”
Renovations at any of the schools could take two or more years to design and build, Melton said.
The new list includes 11 schools. Kirkman Park Elementary would get a $7 million renovation and Northwood a $4 million refurbishment. At Northwood, the cafeteria and kitchen are too small, Melton said. Kirkman Park needs a general upgrading of heating and air conditioning, electrical, technology and security systems.
Kirkman Park was at the top of the list for replacement or renovations in the original 2012 report. The school was the only High Point area school given a top priority in the next five years. Northwood Elementary also was on the original list with an $11 million suggested renovation or replacement. Central High School was listed for a $41 million renovation and expansion to add 230 seats. Enrollments continue to grow at Central. More than 1,600 students could be on campus in 10 years.
Only one school, Nathanael Greene Elementary in Greensboro, would be replaced at $17 million. Greensboro schools on the renovations list are: Bluford Elementary, $9 million; Guilford Middle School, $12 million; Hunter Elementary, $19 million; McIver Education Center, $18 million;  Morehead Elementary, $8 million; Peeler Elementary, $9 million; and  Western Guilford High School, $6 million.
The original report listed $1.2 billion in school replacements, renovations and repairs.
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