Board studies need for new schools

The Moore County School Board accepted a bid for $229,000 at its special meeting on May 19 for replacing the boiler supply and return lines for plumbing updates at Carthage Elementary School. The lowest bidder was Superior Mechanical Services, Inc.

Board member David Hensley said the lower bidder would be doing more work for less money because they will also add a new louver and duct to the return plenum above the auditorium, a $15,000 project.

Superior Mechanical Services, Inc. will save the county $26,000.

The plumbing project will be funded with the previously approved $9,491,031 set aside for capital projects in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) II and III funding plan.

During the report, the board discussed the Master Facility Plan, and during a review at the May 5 meeting, they shared that the Carthage Planning Committee wants a new school.

“It takes four years,” vice-chair Libby Carter said about building a new Carthage Elementary School.

“We are thinking about children there right now,” board member Robert Levy said about why the board is updating Carthage Elementary School’s heating and air conditioning.

The Executive Officer for Operations John Birath presented an overview of Moore County Schools.

Considering land acquisitions, Birath said in the past that developers had seen the value of having a school in a development and have either donated land for a school or lowered the cost significantly, and that is something they are working to negotiate with developers.

The Master Facility Plan includes increasing capacity and modernization at Pinecrest and Union Pines high schools and West Pine Elementary School. The plan includes creating a New Area III Middle School in the southern part of the county.

The land-use study includes historical data and growth studies to gauge accurate statistics for planning.

The future plans include:

*Complete the modernization of the gymnasiums at Sandhills Farm Life, Vass-Lakeview and Carthage Elementary schools

*Modernization or replacement of Carthage Elementary School

*Modernization of the Community Learning Center at Pinckney, including the alternative learning and IT support services facilities

*Expansion of Crain’s Creek Middle School to align with its core capacity

*Modernization and expansion or replacement of West End Elementary School

*Modernization and expansion or replacement of Cameron Elementary School to align with its core capacity

*Modernization of Elise Middle School

*Modernization and expansion or replacement of Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School

*Expansion of the core and classroom capacities of Vass-Lakeview in response to long-term growth projections

*Modernization, renovation and/or expansion of athletic and performing arts facilities at middle and high schools.

The board reviewed the May 5 presentation on Carthage Elementary School.

Birath said for the purpose of planning, the numbers are good. There are 312 current students at Carthage Elementary School, with 412 forecasted for 2022-2023 and 448 forecasted for 2028-2029.

“Like Carthage Elementary, Sandhills Farm Life’s site allows for very little expansion as well,” Birath said.

The next school board meeting is on May 26.

Feature photo of Carthage Elementary School captured by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Melissa Schaub.

~Article by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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