Kannapolis board of education sends county list of facility needs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Board of Education is sending Cabarrus County a list of facility needs exceeding $33 million.
County Manager Mike Downs requested an update from the district for planning purposes.
“We actually have a current year budget and then we operate on a five-year financial plan,” he said. “Any large items such as capital items we need to know well in advance so we can start plugging them in and start to identify funding sources.”
Downs said it’s “not likely” the county will be able to fund any of the projects during the upcoming fiscal year.
“But we do need to get them on our board’s radar screen so as we look to future budgets and impacts we can make some decisions,” he said.
Downs has also requested a list of facility needs from the Cabarrus County school system and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
“Our board will have to prioritize among the three systems,” he said.
Will Crabtree, the Kannapolis district’s director of business operations, said he was surprised by Downs’ request, but in a good way.
“There’s no promise of funding with it, so I don’t know what will come of it, but I’m pretty happy they are at least asking,” he said. “That’s a step forward.”
• • •
Crabtree presented school board with two facility needs lists Monday.
Topping the first list was a new intermediate school at a cost of nearly $21 million. The district already owns land for the project behind Kannapolis Middle School.
The current intermediate school would be turned into an elementary school. Those renovations, including the addition of bathrooms to kindergarten classrooms, moving the office to the front of the building and converting locker rooms into usable space, would come in at more than $1.3 million.
Expanding two wings at Kannapolis Middle School by a total of eight classrooms also tops the list. The price tag for that project would come in at about $1 million.
“We’re going to have to do that eventually,” Crabtree said. “With the classes moving up, we’re not going to have enough capacity at the middle school level to handle the growth.”
• • •
The alternate list proposes building a new middle school instead of an intermediate school and turning the current middle school into an intermediate school.
But school board member Todd Adams spoke out against that plan.
“I don’t like the idea of us having two intermediate schools,” he said. “There is going to be a perception in town that my child is going to the new intermediate school and your child is going to the old one.”
Superintendent Dr. Pam Cain agreed that issue would have to be addressed.
“The key would be to have what’s going on inside the building and the teaching so good and then spruce it up all you can because at the end of the day, it’s what’s going on in the classroom that really matters,” she said.
Adams said he prefers the “one intermediate school, one middle school model,” because it would alleviate busing issues by having them on the same campus and allow for more collaboration between the two schools.
School board member Doris Buchanan backed Adams.
“If we’re fortunate enough to get that amount of money I think this is the best plan,” she said.
The board voted unanimously to go with Crabtree’s first plan to build a new intermediate school.
The plan also includes two gym additions, at a cost of more than $1.3 million each, at Jackson Park and Woodrow Wilson elementary schools.
“These are the only elementary schools that do not have a gym facility or something like it,” Crabtree said.
Adding a new building to the McKnight Child Development Center is another pressing need because of growing space constraints, Crabtree said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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facility needs
• A.L. Brown High School field facilities upgrade for more than $1.1 million. The booster club is currently working to fund that project, which would include the addition of a new press box. 
• A.L. Brown parking lot expansion for $325,000.
• Forest Park Elementary parking lot addition for $160,000.
• HVAC controls at Fred L. Wilson and Forest Park elementary schools for $207,500 and $180,000, respectively.
• Fred L. Wilson interior renovation to add resource rooms and storage space for $330,000. 
• Woodrow Wilson Elementary School front enclosure for $270,000. 
• Update brick and gutters at A.L. Brown for $160,000. 
• Replace carpet with tile at Forest Park and Jackson Park elementary schools for about $120,000. 
• Additional bathrooms at Forest Park for $165,000. 
• Purchase generators for A.L. Brown for $365,000 so that the high school can serve as an emergency shelter.
• Driveway update at Fred L. Wilson for $175,000.