CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district has a ten-year plan that budgets $20 million for repairs to the district’s older schools – but a recent study indicates that won’t be nearly enough.
“The assessment results…identify a baseline of what is needed at each school, and a baseline for the ten facilities is in the neighborhood of 52 million dollars,” says Bill Mullin, the district’s executive director of facilities management. “This includes everything from HVAC systems, to electrical systems, to structural repairs, to site improvements that would equate to what we should have in our capital plan over the next ten years if we were fully funded.”
Extensive repairs are needed for many of the schools to reach current ADA safety standards, but Carrboro Elementary principal Jillian La Serna says even these repairs won’t fix problems that many of the staff and teachers have to deal with on a day to day basis.
“So when we become short on space in the building, in the older facilities, we end up using spaces that are not ideal as classroom spaces,” says La Serna. “We had to knock down a wall at Carrboro a couple years ago to create a space for our classroom that we just didn’t have…(and) the impact of that is, when you turn those spaces into classrooms, you end up having to share office spaces.”
The district has three different repair options they are looking at for each school; the most extensive option runs as high as $40 million in renovations for individual schools. Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese said a bond may become a viable option.
“We had a joint boards meeting last week with the Orange County Commissioners as well as Orange County Schools – Orange County schools has a similar need to our school system, they’re starting their study now – but I think the conversation that unfolded that evening started heading down the path of a bond,” LoFrese says.
LoFrese, La Serna, and Mullin made those comments during a WCHL panel on the coming renovations.
***Listen to the Panel***