Huge turnout in favor of proposed central office
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — More than 80 people spoke in favor Tuesday of the city’s plan to borrow $8.37 million for the proposed school central office, and dozens more packed City Hall in support.
One person, Dr. Ada Fisher, spoke in opposition of the project and questioned the cost involved to taxpayers.
City Council voted unanimously to pursue the project, which will require approval of the state’s Local Government Commission. If approved, Rowan-Salisbury Schools would make the city’s debt payments on the new building during a 20-year lease agreement.
The school system, which can’t borrow money, does not have a central office even though the city and county school administrations merged more than two decades ago.
The 62,000-square-foot building would stand at 329 S. Main St., beside the $3.2 million headquarters for Integro Technologies and the Salisbury Business Center, which is going up next door.
The project and location have been controversial, but most supporters on Tuesday said the new facility would have the greatest economic impact if placed downtown in a densely populated area.
Many school system employees who work in the dilapidated Long Street administration office — one of five facilities used by school administration employees — spoke about their difficult and unsafe working conditions and thanked City Council for stepping forward.
A majority of Rowan County commissioners declined to fund the project, citing environmental contamination at the site, which has since been resolved. Commissioner Jon Barber, who was in the minority, spoke in favor of the city-school system partnership.
Read more in Wednesday’s Post.