Why not put school office in E. Spencer?

  • Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013 12:10 a.m.

From Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education member Chuck Hughes:

In the name of economic justice ... why move at all?

Why build a school central office building downtown, at Isenberg, at the decaying mall or anywhere else? Why not keep it in East Spencer?

Agreeing with those who find the old, but historic building on Long Street less than ideal for a functional government building, my suggestion would be to build the new COB on the three to four acres behind the Long Street building. I believe the county owns this property.

If the central office building had been considered to be critical to the prosperity of downtown Salisbury, economic justice would demand the same consideration be given to East Spencer, for would it not contribute as much, if not more, to East Spencer’s economic development as it would to downtown Salisbury’s? Besides, many in East Spencer have strong ties to the Long Street building and its history. I believe it was one of the first black schools in the area.

The arguments about health risks due to mold in the Long Street office building were dismissed by an air quality inspection on 6/14/2010. This inspection identified various species of mold, most of which were attributed to common molds on animals and vegetation. Toxic black mold (Stachybotrys species) was not found. The recommended remedy was “clean and disinfect the window areas.”

The structural issues noted by Interface for Consulting Engineers (ICES) on 12/27/2007 focused on the floors and the balcony. The balcony was stressed because of its inappropriate use for heavy storage despite being built just for passage. The floors were stressed in part to the concentration of heavy loads. In conclusion, ICES considered the building to be compromised for use as an office and storage facility. That, however, would not rule out other uses, especially if historic building grant money came to its aid. There would be many grants available to preserve the historic Long Street building. After sandblasting the structure, sealing it and repairing the structural problems with the flooring, it could be used for Title I purposes and continue to serve the citizens of East Spencer through preservation and restoration of both their history and their future.

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