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Chatham County plans for new high school

Posted Friday, February 5, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County has approved a five-year Capital Improvement Plan that includes a new high school, a new jail and a landfill site study. The plan also calls for moving ahead immediately with the county's judicial center.

The new high school on Jack Bennett Road in northeastern Chatham would open in 2015 with a capacity of 800 students. But the core facilities - the media center, cafeteria, and gymnasium - could be expanded for up to 1,200 students to accommodate growth.

The commissioners agreed to fund a new jail, but asked county staff to work with an architect to cut the total cost to $15 million, a 21 percent reduction.

The current jail is over capacity about 62 percent of the time, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The commissioners also directed the architect to continue finalizing the plans for the new judicial center.

The commissioners asked the architect to reduce the judicial center budget. The commissioners trimmed the budget by roughly $4 million from the original estimated amount the county would have to borrow by taking advantage of lower construction costs and selecting other options for interior and exterior finishes, according to the release.

The commissioners also added the following school-related items to the updated capital plan:

Replacement of roofs at nine older schools this year, using qualified school construction bonds to cover the estimated $2.2 million cost.

Replacement of indoor gym bleachers at Chatham Central and Jordan Matthews high schools, because existing bleachers are in poor condition and pose a safety hazard. The estimated total cost is $310,000 paid over two years (2011 to 2012) out of fund balance.

Improvement of lighting and sound for auditoriums at Chatham Central and Jordan Matthews so that all three high schools have upgraded auditoriums which will not only serve school functions, but will be able to accommodate many community activities. The estimated cost at each school is around $360,000.

Replacement of lights at Northwood's football field. Existing lights do not meet standards of the NC Athletic Association, which means the school could be forced to play on an opponent's field during a playoff game. The commissioners moved this project up one year to 2011. The estimated cost is $116,000 and will be paid from county reserves.

Replacement of broken paved areas at six schools, including sidewalks, driveways and play areas. Estimated cost is $150,000 over five years.

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Chatham County plans for new high school
Chatham School Board Chairman Deb McManus.
News Unofficial Chatham County Schools site

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