Wednesday, 24 January 2018 13:00

Commissioners set first two meetings for school improvement talks

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Halifax commissioners have two special meetings set thus far to begin discussions on possible updated capital improvement plans with the three school systems in the county.

Meetings have been set with the county school board and the Roanoke Rapids school board. The county is still trying to confirm a date for discussions with Weldon City Schools, County Manager Tony Brown said today.

The first meeting will be held with the county school system on February 5 at 4:30 p.m. at its district office on Highway 301, according to the notice sent today.

The meeting with the Roanoke Rapids board is scheduled for 6 p.m. on February 20 at the media center of Manning Elementary School.

Notice of the meetings come after commissioners decided earlier this month to begin talks about possibly upgrading the current school improvement plan.

Brown said the plan is to sit down with the boards and discuss facility needs and update the plan sometime in the summer. “We want to partner with the schools so we can walk in same steps to get their facility needs and concerns addressed.”

The topics of these discussions will be what Brown described as capital, big ticket items, such as school building issues and renovations.

“This will be very important dialogue between the school boards and commissioners as it relates to long-range facility plans,” board of commissioners Chair Vernon Bryant said. “We just wanted to have an idea of where they’re headed as related to capital and take a look at that.”

Asked about whether Weldon High School would be moved up to the top priority for renovation or new construction both Brown and Bryant said that was a possibility.

Weldon was second on the list of priorities after discussions of a new Manning school were completed and the facility was opened earlier this month.

‘We have to look at all three,” Bryant said. “The last thing was Manning. We have to look at what’s next on the list. It looks like probably Weldon High School but there will be other things we have to look at. The whole purpose is to find out what their needs are. Even though Weldon High School is a priority, we want to find out the needs of the other districts as well.”

Discussions of reviewing and possibly revising the plan came to light in October when commissioners deliberated on funding a study of the current conditions at Weldon High School and discovery by Commissioner Marcelle Smith some of the schools in the current plan don’t exist.

Commissioners at that meeting agreed to take $38,000 from the county contingency fund to allow the Weldon system to pay for a study which could lead to recommendations on whether the high school should undergo renovations or whether a new school should be constructed.

The $38,000 was the price quoted by Raleigh-based Davis Kane Architects.

The company, in a July 21 letter to County Attorney Glynn Rollins, stated its goal would be to determine whether the school should be renovated or a new building should be constructed on a new or existing site.



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