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Over 20 Guilford County district schools would be rebuilt under proposed $2B master plan

Guilford County Schools says the plan includes rebuilding Page and Southern High Schools.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools (GCS) says a proposed $2 billion master plan for the district would include rebuilding 22 schools, fully renovating 19 schools, and constructing seven new schools. 

The bulk of the money - around $800 million - would focus on rebuilding the worst schools in the district, according to GCS. This means knocking them down and starting over. About $400 million would be put toward 19 other schools for full renovations. 

"Over the last 20 years we've spent almost a billion dollars in patch up work, a billion dollars in some upgrades or repairs so this is looking at the entire district, at all of our schools, instead of some schools, in some areas," Deena Hayes, The Board of Education Chair said.

GCS officials say a consulting firm called Cooperative Strategies proposed over $2,045,675,000 in work for the rebuilds, renovations, new schools, and safety and technology upgrades. 

"Certainly it's a large item {$2 billion dollars}, but I believe that our students and future generations are worth that," Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras said.

Previously, GCS hired another consulting firm (MGT) that recommended $1.5 billion in repairs. Most of that focused on deferred maintenance, and patch-up work that is not sustainable. A GCS spokesperson says the new study focuses more on rebuilding and repairing for longevity, instead of just renovations. 

The Cooperative Strategies consultant said under the new plan, the district's building's should last for 80-100 years. 

"It's an element of playing catch-up with this backlog of deferred maintenance and doing a different thing with it rather than continuing to play that game," consultant David Sturtz said. "We started working on this plan in the summer."

Sturtz said the MGT report was very helpful in breaking down each school's condition.

The new plan builds on that facility condition assessment conducted in 2018 and finalized in a report shared last January. That study rated more than 50 percent of the district’s facilities in poor or unsatisfactory condition. The average school in GCS was built in 1966, prior to the invention of the internet.  

Right now, the $2 billion dollar proposal is a recommendation, and nothing is set in stone. 

Cooperative Strategies is focusing on 3 'R's' - Repair, Renovate, and Rebuild. 

Repair 56 schools. 

Renovate 19, meaning keep the shell and gut the inside.

And rebuild 22,  meaning knock them down and start over.

But all 125 schools will be improved in some way shape or form, like security upgrades.

"No school will be left untouched," Superintendent Contreras said.

Current GCS schools were built, on average, in the mid 1960’s, and the Facilities Master Plan reduces the average building age 25+ years through major renovations and new construction. Full renovations and reconstruction projects focus largely on schools in the worst condition relative to their replacement values, while also supporting current and desired programs.

The plan would also eliminate all mobile classrooms, some of which date to the 1970's. The district currently has more than 500 mobile or temporary classrooms in use.

List of schools recommended to be rebuilt:

  1. Allen Jay Elementary
  2. Bessemer Elementary 
  3. Brooks Global
  4. Claxton Elementary
  5. Foust Elementary
  6. Frazier Elementary
  7. Irving Park Elementary
  8. Jackson 6-12 Prep Academy
  9. Joyner Elementary
  10. Kirkman Park Elementary
  11. Kiser Middle School
  12. Millis Road Elementary
  13. Montlieu Elementary
  14. Morehead Elementary 
  15. Northwood Elementary
  16. Page High School
  17. Peck K-8
  18. Southern High School
  19. Sternberger Elementary
  20. Vandalia Elementary
  21. Washington K-8 
  22. Weaver Academy (McIver Site)

List of schools recommended to be fully renovated:

1. Newcomers School (Academy at Smith site)
2. Allen MS
3. Alternative Programs (Weaver site)
4. Andrew HS
5. Erwin Montessori (Archer site)
6. General Greene ES
7. Grimsley HS
8. High Point Central HS
9. Jones k-8
10. Lincoln Academy
11. Early College HS Leadership Academy 6-12 (Swann site)
12. Northeast HS
13. Parkview Village ES
14. Penn-Griffin 6-12 VPA
15. Sedgefield ES
16. Shadybrook ES
17. Smith HS
18. Welborn/Kearns 6-12
19. Western HS

List of Recommended Building Closings: 13 school buildings and 11 administration buildings, a result of program moves, school and administration consolidation

  1.  Brown Summit MS
  2. Cone ES
  3. Doris Henderson Newcomers Schools
  4. Erwin Montessori
  5. Hampton ES
  6. Madison ES
  7. Murphey ES
  8. Oak Hill ES
  9. Peeler ES
  10. SCALE-Greensboro/Twilight
  11. Southern ES
  12. Sumner ES
  13. Wiley ES
  14. Merritt Drive Annex (admin)
  15. Prescott Street Tech Department (admin)
  16. Lees Chapel (admin)
  17. Franklin Boulevard (admin)
  18. Franklin Boulevard/Moen Transportation (admin)
  19. Eugene Street (admin)
  20. Laughlin Professional Center (admin)
  21. Psychological Services (admin)
  22. Market Street (admin)
  23. Grimes Ave Warehouse (admin)
  24. Naco Road Maintenance (admin)

What's Next?

  • There will be a follow-up meeting with the Joint Facilities Committee (GCS and Guilford County Board of Commissioners) on December 19th. The meeting will focus of project prioritization and phasing to focus on highest condition, capacity and program needs.
  • Public presentations/informational sessions will happen in January of 2020.
  • Public hearings will take place in January 2020
  • The Joint Facilities Committee will take a vote in February 2020.
  • The district is also planning to launch an online survey to get feedback from parents, employees and the public, after the winter break.

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