School board compromise: Two schools for $100M
Reaffirming its 5-4 majority in favor of continuing with the current two-high school system employed by the county, the Mecklenburg County School Board at Monday’s regular meeting voted 5-4 in support of construction of two separate middle school/high school complexes, one for each end of the county.
Included in the motion was verbiage stating the proposed project, which involves construction of a new Bluestone high/middle school complex for the western end of the county and construction of a new Park View High School for the east end students with the the current Park View High School renovated into a middle school, would be completed at a cost of no more than $100 million.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors resolved in recent months that it would allocate $100 million in funding only for a consolidated, centrally located high/middle school complex to serve all the students of the county’s public school system.
School board member Brent Richey made the motion, which passed with Richey, Wanda Bailey, who seconded, Lindell Palmer, Gavin Honeycutt and Rob Campbell voting in favor and Dale Sturdifen, chair, Kenneth Johnson, Glenn Edwards and Dora Garner voting against.
Before making the motion, Richey noted the board of supervisors’ approval for funding for one consolidated secondary school complex “with the majority of the school board rejecting” the idea. The school board has steadfastly voted 5-4 in favor of continuing with two schools for each end of the county.
“In the spirit of cooperation and compromise, I move that we request to build a new Bluestone high school/middle school complex on a new site, build a new Park View High School adjacent to the existing Park View High School, and renovate the current Park View High School into the new Park View Middle School at a cost of no more than $100 million,” Richey said.
Richey also said the school board should pass on a note to the supervisors saying it would be happy to meet in order to “discuss how this may be done.”
Sturdifen reiterated and clarified the motion, “Mr. Richey has presented a motion that this board approves building a new high school/middle school complex for Bluestone, a new Park View High School and renovating the current Park View High School to make it the middle school for a sum of no more than $100 million.”
Bailey then seconded the motion, and Sturdifen asked for discussion on the matter.
Edwards asked where the $100 million would come from. Richey said $100 million is the figure the supervisors have indicated the county would be able to spend on the project.
Edwards argued that the funding was under the condition that the board approves building only one upper school complex.
“That is for one school, not for two,” he said.
Garner asked, “If we vote for three new schools for $100 million, what happens when everything gets started and it runs $130 million?”
“Probably the same thing that would happen if we built one school and it started to get up to $130 million,” Campbell answered. “Nobody has numbers that are concrete and definite until we can get an architect to actually draw some plans and give us an estimate. First we have to have the board of supervisors to agree to something before we can go to the next step. And that’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to compromise to the next step.”