Board of Education to consider 3 sites for western elementary

Published 12:05 am Sunday, July 17, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY —Which one will they choose? The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will consider sites at a called meeting Monday for a consolidated western elementary school.

The school was slated to be built at the corner of Godbey Road and N.C. 801, in the western part of the county, until public outcry and safety concerns had the board casting its nets for other suitable sites.

At a June 30 called meeting, the board narrowed down its options and chose three potential sites: the original Godbey Road parcel, the current site of Cleveland Elementary School and a parcel of land on Foster Road near Kennel Road. SfL+a Architects was asked to bring back a cost comparison for each site.

According to the architectural firm’s assessment on the board’s online agenda, it would be cheapest to build the school at Godbey Road. Site preparation and land acquisition would cost approximately $1.9 million — a figure that includes the $1.2 million the board would need to spend installing sewer and water lines. And it’s a site the board has already poured roughly $116,810 into in earnest money, environmental surveys and consulting fees. However, the system would need to spend approximately $25,000 a year to maintain the wastewater pump station and force main — a recurring cost for the life of the school.

While the Cleveland site checks in as the cheapest to prepare — only $1.3 million — it has the highest anticipated land cost. SfL+a estimated that the parcel could sell for as much as $700,000 — more than twice the approximately $300,000 price tag of the other sites — which rounds the probable cost of the site out at a little over $2 million. The Cleveland parcel also caries a $750,000 demolition cost for existing structures, including the current elementary school building.

And while the board has expressed a desire for a neutral site, building the school in the town of Cleveland means that there would be no annual maintenance costs for utilities.

While the Foster Road site fits the bill for a neutral location between Cleveland and Woodleaf, and doesn’t have the safety concerns of a busy intersection and a nearby power plant, it’s also the most expensive option with an expected cost of $2.1 million. The site would also require water and sewer. At the June 30 meeting, the board discussed its two options: building gravity-fed lines, or installing its own septic system and well. Either option would carry recurring, permanent costs. According to SfL+a, an on-site water system would have an annual cost of $100,000, and water and sewer lines would cost an additional $25,000 per year.

Monday’s called business meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the Wallace Educational Forum board room. Public comment will begin at 6 p.m.

In other business the board:

  • Will consider open enrollment for the district.
  • Will receive a review of its second year utilizing laptops and iPads.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.