Need for new Ahoskie Elementary School revealed

Published 10:33 am Friday, January 7, 2011

WINTON – A school building project is on the horizon – though maybe not for a few years.

Hertford County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. John Fahey presented a Facility Needs Assessment to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners Monday.

The assessment, required by the North Carolina Department of Instruction every five years, included a plan to replace Ahoskie Elementary School. According to the plan, the school would need to be built to house approximately 800 students in grades Kindergarten through eight.

The projected cost of the new school would be approximately $12.2 million, according to the report. The total cost would include site development, building and furnishings.

“This is something we are required to do every five years,” Dr. Fahey said. “There is no commitment to any kind of funding.”

He said the only other major item on the report was the possibility of adding an auditorium to the campus of Hertford County High School. That could come at a price tag of $2 million.

“We have to do this because it gives the state of North Carolina a big picture look at what the facility needs are across the state,” Dr. Fahey told the board.

Commission Vice Chairman Curtis Freeman asked if the report was just for information and was told it was.

Commissioner Ronald Gatling asked how far in the future the school would be looked at.

“We probably need to get the courthouse finished first,” Dr. Fahey said. “Ahoskie Elementary is an old building, but it has been well taken care of and I don’t think we can stand two building projects at the same time. The plan says zero to five years, but I think it’s more likely to fall in the six to ten year category.”

Dr. Fahey did indicate, however, that when the building was constructed, the district planned to follow the county’s lead and build it behind the current structure and then remove the present buildings for parking and a playground area.

The school district is also working with Roanoke-Chowan Community College concerning some space constraints at the Early College High School. Dr. Fahey said it could result in a temporary unit such as a hut or trailer being put on site. That’s because the school district legally cannot build on the site because it is not owned by the system.

In addition to the proposed new school and auditorium there were other renovations on the plan, but Dr. Fahey said many of them would be handled by capital outlay money received each year.