School board lists capital needs projects

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 10, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER — A consolidated central office tops the capital needs list of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, with an estimated price tag of up to $8.4 million.
Gene Miller, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, said that figure doesn’t include interest or an estimated $1.5 million in tax credits that could come into play if the school system enters a lease-purchase agreement with a private developer.
And, he said, it could cost less depending on bids.
“I want people to know this project will be bid out no matter what,” Miller said.
Woodleaf and Cleveland elementary schools come in at second and third on the list. Each school would cost nearly $13.5 million to replace.
“They are on the list simply because they are old,” he said.
Both schools opened in 1927.
The Board of Education approved the list of capital projects 6-1, during its work session Monday. Board member Mike Caskey cast the lone dissenting vote, saying he would like to see Woodleaf moved to the top of the list.
Not only is Woodleaf old, it also has water issues.
Miller said the school’s well produces enough water for a day’s usage.
“We drain it down during the day and at night we pump it back up,” he said. “On the weekend, if something were to happen and the pump went down we would have an issue there Monday morning.”
Miller said school maintenance staff keep a close eye on the pump, checking it daily to ensure it’s working properly. And he said when there have been malfunctions, water has been brought in.
“People think we can just tear it down and build a new school on that site, but that’s not going to happen because of the water issue,” he said.
An 10-classroom addition to Koontz Elementary is next on the list at $1.9 million.
Replacing Knox Middle School rounds out the top five capital project needs, with an estimated price tag at more than $18.4 million.
Miller also gave school board members a list of “alterations, repairs and additions” needed at each school.
That list includes about $29.4 million in improvements. A breakdown of the list includes $249,200 for health and safety concerns, $500,000 for critical needs and more than $28.7 million in major construction.
“This is just a list of ongoing projects that we would like to see done in our schools,” Miller said. “And, obviously, some of them just need to be done.”
Hanford Dole Elementary has the only critical need on the list, which is to replace its shingle roof with metal.
Miller said the roof shouldn’t be leaking since the school was built in 1999, but that’s the case.
“They did a bad job on the roof,” he said.
The following projects are categorized as health and safety concerns:
• Erwin Middle — Replacing carpet in the office and library for $30,000 and repairing the tennis courts for $30,000;
• Enochville Elementary — Replacing blinds for $1,200, replacing restroom fixtures for $18,000 and buying partitions for both boys and girls bathrooms for $24,000;
• Henderson Independent High — Repairing the telephone system for $2, 500, purchasing a security system for four trailers for $4,000, buying five outdoor cameras for $6,000 and upgrading the ventilation system server closet for $5,000;
• Knollwood Elementary — Increasing security at entrances for $5,000;
• Mt. Ulla Elementary — Demolishing the old gym and shop building for $50,000;
• North Rowan High — Replacing carpet for $60,000, installing exterior perimeter lights for $7,500; and
• West Rowan High — Replacing classroom lines for $6,000.
This year’s capital outlay budget includes about $1.2 million for projects on the list. Miller said those deemed health and safety threats will be done first.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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