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Goodbye Cole Park?

By Andy Munn
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006

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Chatham County, NC - Plans are under way for the construction of a new building. This is a momentous time for the school, which first held classes just eight years ago. After all of the memories, the good and the bad, Woods will move to a freestanding building within the Briar’s Chapel development.

The new school site will be south of Cole Park off Andrew’s Store Road. The developers of Briar’s Chapel have donated approximately eighteen acres to the school for a building and other school grounds. The plot of land has enough room for an adequately sized building and nice outdoor features like a creek and rocky outcrop.

In October, the Woods School Board approved a building plan for a school to 636 students built in two phases with the first to hold roughly 400 students. The split build is meant to help the school maintain the cultural and academic atmosphere that Woods now cherishes in-spite of the influx of new students. Some parents and teachers have shown skepticism about the growth, but with the support of most people involved the school has decided to grow and now faces many logistical questions as to how it will be done.

Right now, the school has about 224 students; this number will need to be almost doubled by the fall of ‘07, when the building is to be finished, and tripled by the final phase. The School Board wants to grow as slowly as possible, but, for financial stability, the school will need to have around 400 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. A few grades will have two classes, rather than one, with fewer students in upper grades. The school has not yet found room for the growth, but space is open and being considered below the current facilities.

Work will begin on the new school site early next year, though development is still awaiting permits from the state.

Andy Munn is a journalism student at Woods Charter School in North Chatham County, NC.

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