Editorial: Educational Forum speaks well of Rowan
The Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ new central office could have been bigger, smaller, more expensive or cheaper.
Many locations were considered — a church on Webb Road, a former grocery store on Jake Alexander Boulevard, the Bendix building (now Power Curbers) near the interstate. There was talk of building beside Isenberg Elementary School on Jake Alexander Boulevard North, or near the bus garage on Old Concord Road. Some lobbied for the offices to go in the former Salisbury Mall. Under one scenario, the building would have been built beside Integro on South Main Street.
The point is, countless variables were talked about through the years. Finally, the stars simply aligned — the stars of financing, location and political will. The result at 500 N. Main St. is a $9 million structure that speaks well of Rowan County and the importance it places on education. The forum is impressive without being grandiose, practical without being cheap.
A great deal of credit for the building goes to Lee and Mona Wallace and their family; had they not stepped up to do a land swap, the school board might still be shopping around. The Wallaces went the extra mile by paying for the building’s dome, once the subject of controversy and now an interesting addition to the downtown skyline.
The thank yous must include the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. Under the weight of mediation and threat of a school-board lawsuit, commissioners agreed to allow $40 million in construction for the system. The central office was the least expensive part of that; the new west elementary school and work on Knox Middle account for the rest. As long as the central office did not go on South Main Street, where city and school officials wanted it, commissioners would drop their resistance. Commissioners were ready to take a positive step forward. School officials were willing to compromise
Kudos go to former school board Chairman Richard Miller, whose negotiating skills, strategy and backbone were pivotal. So many people had a hand in this — past and current school board members and administrators, generous donors, Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody and her staff. The list goes on and on.
Thanks to many, central office workers have a sturdy, up-to-date, truly central place to work — and Rowan County has a building to which it can point with pride.