WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Wake County school board discusses possible renovation projects for next bond issue

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We're potentially three weeks away from a preliminary vote on the renovation projects that would be funded in the next Wake County school bond referendum.

The Wake County school board got an overview from staff today of the initial list of proposed whole campus renovations, partial campus renovations, life cycle projects and support and athletic facilities. No decisions were made today.

Staff will bring the list back at next Tuesday's board meeting for further discussion. Don Haydon, chief facilities and operations officer, said he'd like the board to at least give a thumbs up vote on Sept. 4 to see if they're going in the right direction on the list.

Once approved, Assistant Superintendent Joe Desormeaux said they'd work on different scenarios of renovations and new schools for the board to choose from. They'll also by then have dollar amounts for the renovation projects.

Proposed renovations to Athens Drive High's football stadium and the possibility of using regional athletic stadiums or complexes drew the most discussion.

School board member Jim Martin asked that the district meet with Athens Drive families to discuss the project. Several booster parents have hired a lawyer and threatened to sue Wake if renovations aren't made.

Desormeaux said staff is willing to meet with the families. He said the reason the projected cost range is so wide at $1 million to $7 million is because the high end is what the parents think it should cost.

The idea of building a regional athletic stadium or complex got a mixed reaction.

School board member Debra Goldman said losing an athletic facility would take away from the historic nature of some schools.

School board member John Tedesco quipped he'd never be elected in Garner again if he suggested taking away Garner High School's stadium. But he said that it could save money if new high schools used athletic facilities from existing schools.

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Take home message

If there are serious facilities problems with your child's school, band together with other parents and threaten to sue to get moved up the priorities list.

Lawsuits make the WCPSS

go round don't they.

Where do we sign up?

Rankings on Renovations List?

Maybe I missed this information somewhere, but can anyone explain what the rankings mean on the proposed campus renovation list that is posted? 

They gave each school four

They gave each school four separate weighted scores to come up with an average. The lower the number the higher the priority. Academic programs refers to how far below the school is in terms of its facilities to be able to offer the academic programs that are given at new schools. Student assignment involves how much of a need there is in that school's area to increase capacity. Campus building condition and health and safety are fairly explanatory and both account for 35 percent of the score. Student assignment and academic programs each accounts for 15 percent.

Green Elementary is at the top of the list because it has the second highest need to upgrade facilities for academics, student assignment and campus building condition. It's fifth out of 12 schools in terms of the need to do renovations for health and safety issues.

Thank you, Keung!

Thank you, Keung!

There's no way that a new

There's no way that a new high school could use a stadium on another school's campus.  You have to either go regional and have it shared or build everyone a stadium.

...

Why?

Logistics, maintenance, and

Logistics, maintenance, and simple pride.

For one thing, a facility getting twice as much usage would need to have FieldTurf instead of grass.

Heritage wouldn't want to play it's home football games at Wakefield.

My high school shared a stadium and it was just how it was.

We had plenty of simple pride and it was not a problem.

Yeah...

Bit of a hard sell when there are two high schools in the district that share a stadium and, what, 20 that don't.

Personally, I think the district should consider building a school that doesn't have a football program altogether, but does offer other things that will draw kids to it.  

Raleigh Charter doesn't have a football team, and they don't seem to have any problems attracting students.  (The last I checked, it's harder to get into RCHS than Duke -- ~8% to ~13%).

...

Well, I don't know anything about FieldTurf or maintenance of a stadium. But I do know that my high school shared its stadium with another. It was on our grounds (which was built after the other school) and they had use of it. No pride was lost. I think it's still like that today.

If you think having to go to

If you think having to go to your rival's campus to play your home games isn't a pride-losing proposition, I'd argue that you just weren't into sports.

There could be practical reasons for sharing a campus.  If WCPSS was building a new HS downtown, and just didn't have the space for a stadium, that would be a different thing.  But that isn't what they are doing.  Even then, you'd still have to have room for a practice field and some form of a track.....all you'd really save is the cost of the seating and the press box.

Each school would need those things even if WCPSS went with a regional stadium for two new high schools, because it's not like they can all practice at the same time.

Well...

Let's be clear -- they're not doing anything; they're just talking.

A centralized stadium facility shared by a couple of high schools might make sense.  But, I just can't see, for example, building a new high school and then telling it that it's home field was Gregson Stadium at Sanderson.  For that matter, I can't see telling Sanderson that it now has to start sharing its stadium. It may make financial sense, but it's otherwise a bad idea.  The football stadium is a focus of school pride and spirit; those are intangibles that help make a good high school.  

And that is key with this board

They aren't doing anything, just talking.  Been in office almost 9 months and they have yet to accomplish a thing.

The new majority is all talk and no do.  Martin, Evans & Kusher have about as much substance as a wet sock. 

I bet their fires get lit as they get closer to wanting a bond to pass and realize it probably will not.  The word on the street is very few are buying the "it's for the kids" bs this time around and are fed up.

They'll continue talking, and accomplishing nothing, and then the talk will turn to threats, like it always has with Dem led boards.

"We'll have to convert all schools to year round if you guys don't pass this bond" cause we'll have no choice.

Well they have proven that doesn't work because they don't have the grapes to fill them, so threaten away Martin and Evans.

We're not listening!

question

I have no clue how HS football is organized in Wake County.  Are all the schools' teams playing on the same division? 

The HS I attended is located at the top of a hill and is landlocked as far as expansion goes.  It does not have a football stadium but it does have a combined track/practice field.  There is one other HS in town, which was the only one in town for about 50 years.  It has a large campus and stadium, as well as twice as many students.   We played all our home football games at their stadium.  I think one of the reasons it worked is that the schools were in different divisions and didn't play each other in football or basketbal, the two most popular sports in that area.  Had they been rivals I don't think it would have worked. 

I agree with Bob that centralized facilities would make more sense.

The town I grew up in had 3

The town I grew up in had 3 4A size HS's....All three shared one centralized FB stadium.  Maintenance was not a big issue.  All 3 HS's played each other and were the biggest of rivals.  Each year, we altenated who got the home locker and home side of the field.  I am a gigantic FB fan....went on to play FB in college and I never found it to be an issue.  I still believe the 3 HS's share the field to this day.   I suspect the field and stadium was bigger and nicer than it would have been if we each had our own... We each had our own practice facilities but those were largely paid for and maintained by parent boosters.  Each spring, I helped by dad (who was not employed by the school) replant the practice fields grass.  Now that's how you get pride in your facilities!

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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