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Report: Southeastern Rowan elementary schools need consolidation

Elementary schools in the northwestern and southeastern areas of Rowan County need to be consolidated, Rowan-Salisbury School System officials say.

Elementary school zones in the northwest and southeast areas of the county are being underutilized, according to a recent study.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education discussed the results of the Land Use Study report during Monday’s meeting.

The study was part of the 2014-2015 Long Range Facility Plan for the school system.

The school board has already discussed closing Cleveland and Woodleaf elementary schools and combining them into one new school.

According to the study, along with the Cleveland and Woodleaf school zones, the Rockwell and Ethan Shive elementary school zones are only projected to reach 70-80 percent of capacity for 2015-2016.

In order for the zones to reach 95 percent utilization, 139 students would need to be added to Rockwell and 88 to Ethan Shive, according to the study.

Board member Travis Allen said the board should work towards replacing old facilities with new ones, and then consolidating the elementary schools.

“For every school that we can consolidate, we save substantial operating costs, repair costs,” he said.

Josh Wagner, chairman of the board, said he hopes the community will understand that closing some schools is what is best for the county.

“The unfortunate reality of where we are is that we have too many facilities for the county’s size and demographics and growth and all those things,” he said. “Hopefully as we work through this, the community will be involved.”

In other board business:

  • Furniture for the new Wallace Educational Forum has been approved.
  • The new contract between the architect and the board for the new elementary school has been approved.
  • The field trip report was approved.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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