RSS board to consider alternate sites for western elementary

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — When the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education directed staff to look for alternate properties for a new western elementary school, no stone was left unturned. The ensuing 30-day hunt turned up five additional sites for the board’s consideration.

The properties will be presented to the board in a Thursday 2 p.m. called meeting, held before the board’s monthly 5 p.m. business meeting.

Construction for the proposed school is slated to begin in May of 2017, with the school opening August 2018.

The board in May decided to look for alternate sites for a proposed consolidated elementary school in the western part of the county. The slated site, at the intersection of N.C. 801 and Godbey Road, drew community concern due to its proximity to Southern Power and its placement on a busy road.

The school would replace Cleveland and Woodleaf elementaries and would have a base enrollment capacity of 800 students.

The new parcels include the current site of Cleveland Elementary School, a site farther up N.C. 801, a parcel on Mountain Road, a site on Hobson Road and a site on Roster Road.

Of the five, two have been flagged as inappropriate for a school by SfL+a Architects. The alternate N.C. 801 site is listed as a high-speed traffic area with limited frontage. The property would not allow for a 600-foot buffer between vehicle access points, and the site’s only access would be directly off the busy N.C. 801. The Mountain Road property is also marked as inappropriate for the future site of an elementary school. According to documents attached the board’s online agenda, the terrain is rugged and the low, narrow roadway would limit access to the school.

The Hobson Road property, located near the intersection of Cool Springs Road, is 56 acres of flat farmland. According to documents, the long, narrow site would allow for two access points and adequate play field development. The site has electricity, but a well and septic system would need to be established.

The 40-acre Foster Road parcel lies between Ridgeland Drive and Kennel Road. According to SfL+a, the flat farmland would provide good frontage on Foster Road and allow for good vehicle circulation through the parking lot. However, the nearest water and sewer main is 2 miles away, and the system would need to gravity feed the services, or install its own well and septic system.

The last property is the current site of Cleveland Elementary School. The proposed 100,000-square-foot school would be situated back on the property, behind the site of the existing building. The in-town location means the parcel has access to electricity, water and sewer, as well as fire, police and EMS. The town of Cleveland offered a parcel to the board earlier this year, but the board declined.

Parcel numbers and assessed values for the sites were not provided.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.