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Plans for several new Guilford County schools unveiled

Guilford County Schools officials have revealed new renderings for several schools that will be built with the $300 million bond passed in 2020.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools plans to build eight schools over the next few years and they released draft renderings of what some of the schools could look like. 

At a Jan. 27 Board of Education work session, officials went over new plans for the eight schools, including Brooks Global Studies Magnet School, Claxton Elementary School, Foust Gaming and Robotics, Kiser Middle School, New Visual and Performing Arts (formerly Peeler Open Elementary School), Peck Expeditionary Learning, New Southwest K-8 with regional STEM and Montessori at Archer. 

GCS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras made clear at the meeting that the plans could be subject to change. 

All of the projects are expected to be completed in 2024, with the exception of Montessori at Archer, which has a 2025 completion date. 

The school district said they will need a total of $2 billion to fix run-down facilities, including rebuilding 22 schools and fully renovating 19 others. Voters already approved $300 million, which will cover the first eight schools. 

The $1.7 billion bond will be on the ballot for Guilford County voters in May 2022.

“It is a big number but if we continue to piecemeal the problem little by little we are going to continue chasing our tails,” said Guilford County Commissioner Carly Cooke. 

RELATED: Guilford County Commissioners approve adding $1.7 billion school bond referendum to March ballot

If the next bond passes, which would touch every school, it will create more than 20,000 local jobs and so it’s more than just a school right? It’s an investment in the whole community," said GCS deputy superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley.

Peeler Open Elementary is one of the schools getting totally rebuilt after it was badly damaged by a tornado in 2018. Crews sped up the demolition process in November 2021 after a fire was started in the building in October. Investigators believe someone intentionally set a fire on the inside, damaging the building even more.  

Peeler will be replaced by a new Visual and Performing Arts magnet school. Half of the slots at the school will be for students in the community. 

"We did conduct a community meeting where we presented some of the drawings and there were people in the audience who cried," said GCS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras. "They remembered the tornado, the day of the tornado, and cried when they saw this. They also remembered the school was in terrible shape before the tornado and they were just overwhelmed by what they are seeing."

GCS leaders said the new school will continue to focus on the community as well.

"If you look at the building closely you can see some outdoor performing spaces you can really see how it’s a seamless connection with the community and what hope that brings," said Dr. Whitney Oakley, deputy superintendent of Guilford County Schools.

RELATED: Guilford County Schools ready to build 8 new school buildings

Peeler Open Elementary alumni said they also hope there's still a strong connection with the community. 

"I’m hoping they will still have a close relationship with all the people in the neighborhood as well because that’s what I grew up with," said Mister Patton, an alum of Peeler. "My grandmother and grandfather knew all the teachers at the school so if there (were) any issues, they would just call right up there."

Credit: Guilford County Schools



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