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County, schools ready to discuss offices

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.comTop county and school board officials will meet Wednesday to talk about the need for a central school office.
For years, Rowan-Salisbury School System officials have called for a central office to combine the system’s administrative staff, which is split between the former city school offices on Ellis Street and the former county school offices on North Long Street in East Spencer.
Several proposals have surfaced, only to be debated and disappear.
In 2005, school officials lobbied the county to buy the former Bendix property with 40,000 square feet in a two-building complex. The county declined because of concerns over potential environmental hazards.
More recently, school officials suggested a combination administrative office and conference center in cooperation with the city of Salisbury. The board apparently dropped the proposal. It never came to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
School and county officials have also considered buying and reworking some existing commercial buildings.
The Wednesday session is designed to begin discussions regarding the need for a new central office.
Commissioners Chairman Arnold Chamberlain, Commissioner Jim Sides and County Manager Gary Page will represent the county in the discussions.
Board of Education Chairman Jim Emerson and board member Karen Carpenter will represent the school board. School system Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom and Assistant Superintendent Gene Miller will participate.
Earlier this year, Chamberlain attended a meeting of the school board and promised to tackle the central office issue in August.
Emerson said he hopes he and other school system officials will walk away from the meeting with a dollar amount pledged by county leaders.
The county would likely need to spend $9 million to $11 million to build a new facility, Emerson said.
“I’d like to leave there with a commitment for the funds,” he said.
The meeting will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the commissioner’s meeting room at the Cohen Administrative Offices Building, 130 W. Innes St.

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