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Chatham begins construction of a water line to Silk Hope School

Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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Silk Hope, NC - Purchasing bottled water and using disposable products in the cafeteria may no longer be a necessity for Silk Hope Elementary. “We will be able to operate as a normal school,” stated Principal Janice Frazier.

For the past several years, the water levels at Silk Hope have been a constant source of worry for school officials. “Our worst fear, which fortunately did not happen, was that we would have to shut down school operations,” Frazier said.

County officials estimate that construction of a water line to Silk Hope Elementary, which is now underway, should be completed within 90 days. That comes as welcome news to school officials. “We are grateful for this support from the county commissioners,” Frazier said.

Chatham County Commissioners held a groundbreaking ceremony in front of the school Monday to mark the occasion. Contractors were expected to begin construction work the same day. In addition to the school, three customers have signed up to be served by the water line, stated Utilities Director Will Baker. The water department has also received numerous phone calls from the area. “Some of the residents are wondering why we are running this line when the water bond vote last year failed,” Baker said.

“We had vowed to get the school water because of their problems,” stated Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bunkey Morgan. Although northwest district bond vote failed, the county believed that the water line was absolutely necessary to assure an adequate water supply at the school. Commissioners awarded the bid for construction on May 16.

The line is being constructed by J. F. Wilkerson Contracting at a cost of $898,000. The construction costs could have been about $100,000 more if the county had not received assistance from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

NCDOT agreed to allow the county to hang the water line from the U.S. 64 Bridge over Rocky River. “We are especially grateful to Representative Joe Hackney and Senator Bob Atwater for working with DOT to make this possible,” Chairman Morgan said.

The county also appreciates Siler City’s cooperation in providing access to its water lines to meet this critical need, Morgan added.

Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to tap on at a $1,000 discount if they sign up before the construction passes their property. Please contact the Chatham County Water Office at 542-8270 for more information.

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