Letters to the editor - Thursday (7-11-2013)
School office decision has far-reaching implications
Salisbury is steeped in tradition. Our community’s historic preservation ethic is well-known across our state and nation. Last year, our central business district was recognized by the American Planning Association as one of the “Great Places in America.” Our historic neighborhoods, institutions, museums and foundations are regarded as among the best in North Carolina and beyond. Our reputation as a community that values its past is well-earned.
It’s now time, however, to look to the future. The Salisbury City Council, on July 16, will take up the financing for a new central administrative office for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, to be located on city-owned property in the 300 block of South Main Street. The long-term implications of council’s action, or inaction, for that matter, cannot be overstated.
The debate has gone on far too long. The need for a resolution, given the conditions and inefficiencies of the current facilities, cannot be denied.
The position of our duly elected school board in this matter should not be dismissed. A majority of the board has voted to pursue construction of the new facility based on careful analysis of space needs, the functionality of the structure and, yes, the aesthetic quality of what promises to be a handsome public building, a building worthy of its purpose. The council has offered a prominent, central location. Environmental concerns have been addressed, the site plan and building design have been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission, the Salisbury Planning Board and, of course, City Council. The Rowan County Commission, it appears, has unofficially acquiesced or, at a minimum, feigned disinterest.
Unbelievably, one fundamental point has generally evaded public discussion. If we, as a community, expect exceptional performance from our students, then it is imperative we provide a safe, attractive and productive workplace for those entrusted with the enormously important task of administering our public education policies. It’s really that basic. Our children deserve as much and our future demands we act responsibly. To do otherwise would truly be a disservice.
— Joe Morris