Citing financial costs, the Wake County school board has rejected today going with a new design for the board meeting room that will be built in Cary.
Staff had presented last week a design that drew concerns from some board members, notably Debra Goldman, because it would result in some audience members facing the backs of board members. The board table was closer to the middle of the room.
Staff presented a new plan today that would put the board table at the back of the room so that everyone in the audience would face the board. It would also have provided 260 seats, 30 more than the one presented last week.
Joe Desormeaux, assistant superintendent for facilities, said the new design would cost around $60,000 more to change the wiring that's already been laid down at the new Crossroads building in Cary. But he didn't think it would lead to much of a delay.
Desormeaux said the first design, while resulting in some people facing the backs of board members, would result in the audience being closer to the board table. He said the new design, while allowing the board to see all members of the public, would result in the audience being seated further away.
Russ Smith, senior director for security, said neither design is perfect and they wouldn't recommend one over the other. But he said he felt the first design would make it easier to evacuate people from the board room.
Goldman, in backing the second design, noted how they had the Spotlight on Students awards last week. He said that the first design would have resulted in some parents not being able to see their children.
In the ensuing discussion, a majority of board members opted to stick with the first design because they didn't want to spend $60,000 more during this budget situation.