A generous contribution

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Salisbury City Council made a wise decision Tuesday on funding for the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s central office — a project that, as Pete Kennedy said, is long overdue.

The council stood by an earlier commitment made while Doug Paris was city manager to contribute $500,000 toward the project. At the time, Paris was trying to get the central office on South Main Street property donated by the city. To make a long story short, that didn’t work out. A North Main site is now in the plans, the result of a property swap and donation by Lee and Mona Wallace. Council’s agreement yesterday to still pitch in $500,000 shows the change in site does not change the city’s commitment to supporting public education and a project that will be good for economic development.

But the council stopped short of kicking in another half million the school board requested for a dome and parking lot. Salisbury can afford to be only so generous. Council agreed to some in-kind work on sidewalks and such. But the parking lot is a pricey item, and the dome — well, the dome is an architectural flourish that has come to symbolize excess. The dome may be a project for private funds, if it happens at all.

Even more promising is the prospect of the school system splitting an adjoining lot with Richard Monroe of Richard’s Barbecue. If there’s a place where extra spending would be justified, that is it. The additional land would give the building breathing space and preclude a requirement that was causing heartburn — a firewall on one side of the building that could not have windows.  The school board will discuss this development at its meeting tonight.

The school system has a great deal of money invested in the central office project. After years of controversy, it’s good to see important pieces falling into place.