Volunteers frustrated by Knox delay
By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY ó Corey Hill has been ready to volunteer his time this week to revitalize a rundown Knox Middle School.
But he hasnít been allowed to do the painting, cleaning and gardening that Principal Dr. James Davis has said the school desperately needs.
Officials with the Rowan-Salisbury School System say maintenance projects currently under way at the school have halted volunteer work at the school this week.
ěThere are several areas on the school campus that are closed due to renovations and cleaning,î Rita Foil, the districtís spokeswoman, said.
Foil said a staff retreat Wednesday and today have taken Davis away from the school.
ěHe needs to be there when those volunteers are there because the school is kind of in disarray,î she said.
Cornerstone Church Pastor Bill Godair said Hill is just one of at least 100 church members who have been on standby this week, waiting to do their part to help out.
More than 200 church members signed up to lend a hand after teacher Joy Jenkins made a plea to the congregation Sunday.
Hill said after touring the facility Monday he knows how dire the needs are.
ěThe school is unsuitable to start up for kids to go there,î he said.
Inside the school, the paint is chipping, walls are discolored, the carpet is worn and tiles are dingy.
There have also been reports of roaches and rodent feces in the school, but Davis said this week he hasnít seen evidence of any infestations.
Tensions flaired earlier this week when Godair and a group of about a dozen church members toured the school.
Godair claims district officials are not being upfront about the extent of the problems at Knox.
ěEverybodyís embarrassed, I understand that,î Godair said. ěBut I have people that want to make it better.î
Hill said losing a week of work could hurt the effort to revamp the school.
ěWhen you walk in there and see the amount of work that needs to be done, thatís where the frustration comes from,î he said. ěHow would the school system get this done with the amount of manpower they have? The answer is they wouldnít.
ěThe longer they put us off, thatís more opportunity for this work not to get done.î
But Foil said the district is not putting the volunteers off; logistics just havenít allowed for them to come this week.
ěWe want them to come and weíre ready for them to come,î she said. ěThey are more than welcome. We are thrilled to have them.î
Foil said volunteers should be allowed to begin working at the school next week after maintenence crews are finished.
A group from Rowan Helping Ministries was on the campus volunteering Wednesday.
Cam Campbell, director of community relations, said a crew painted the media center, weeded an outside area and cleaned out lockers.
Foil said the group had made plans to work on the campus a couple of weeks earlier under the supervision of a school system maintenance staff member.
Cornerstone has created a website to get the word out about the needs at Knox. People can visit www.helpknox. com to donate time or money to the effort.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.