"Granite High," the unflattering nickname that some critics bestowed upon the new Forest Ridge High School, is going to require more money to cover road improvements around the property.
As noted in today's article, staff told the school board on Tuesday that road improvements mandated by the state DOT and Raleigh will cost $7.4 million. While some of that money is budgeted, it's going to require an infusion of $5.7 million in cash to cover the work.
You got the feeling the price tag was going to be big when staff gave a long introduction about the project that justified why that site was chosen over others proposed by people such as Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles.
"There wasn’t a site that was objectively better than this site," Betty Parker, Wake's director of real estate services, told the school board.
The biggest chunk is $2.5 million for work on Forestville Road.
About $2 million would cover building a connector road between the property and some adjoining roads.
Around $1.9 million would cover road improvements to Taylors Ridge and Greenville Loop roads. School administrators are going ahead with running staff and visitor traffic through the Chesterfield Village subdivision.
Chesterfield residents had urged the school system to move the traffic out of their community by using Leland Road as an alternative.
Staff said it would be the same costwise to do the Taylors Ridge/Greenville Loop or Leland Road work. But they said that they'd likely have to do the Taylors Ridge work anyway even if they improved Leland Road.
The issue is that the Taylors Ridge/Greenville Loop work would also benefit an elementary school that Wake wants to build on the Forest Ridge High site.
While Wake could abandon the elementary school and try to sell that portion of the property, Parker said that whoever bought that strip would then be responsible for doing the road improvements. She said the cost of the road improvements is so high that the land would be unsellable.
The price tag was so high that board members asked for ways to cut costs.
School board member Beverley Clark proposed delaying Forest Ridge High's football stadium, which could cost $2.5 million to $3 million. She said Forest Ridge could share nearby Heritage High's stadium, which is two miles away.
Staff will report back Sept. 2 on possible cost-cutting measures.
The school system would likely ask county commissioners in January for the additional money. The catch is that the high school still might not meet its August 2012 opening.