Guilford County’s school buildings are literally falling apart.
“While the buildings and grounds look okay from the outside, the infrastructure inside the walls and core systems like windows, doors, roofs, plumbing, foundations and heating/cooling units have been stretched to the breaking point,” the school system says. “In fact, so many systems are so old that we can’t always get parts for repairs.”
The school system has identified facility needs totaling $2 billion. The first steps toward meeting those needs are on the ballot this fall — a $300 million school-bond proposal and a 1/4-cent local sales tax increase for school construction. The College Hill Neighborhood Association has endorsed both ballot proposals. Please vote yes on the bonds and the sales tax increase.
The money will start funding the Guilford County Schools Facilities Master Plan, which was released last year. The plan calls for:
In addition, the report found that 13 school buildings and 11 administrative facilities are in such bad shape they should simply be closed.
“This plan doesn’t recommend patching aging facilities that have been deteriorating for decades,” GCS Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras has said. That’s how the system has coped in the past. That’s why we now need $2 billion to fix our school buildings.
Most of us in College Hill don’t have children in school. But every one of us needs our schools to do the best job possible of preparing our community’s young people for their adult lives. We’ll be depending on them in the future. We need to fix our school buildings now.
Our schools haven’t received bond funding for 12 years. Neither measure on the ballot would impose a difficult expense on any of us. For the slight amount of money that each of us will pay, the results will be huge. And not supporting our schools would send our county further down the path taken by Alabama, Mississippi and other places that think their poverty, moribund local economies and bottom-of-every-ranking schools are all just a big coincidence.
We aren’t fools. Let’s not vote like we are. Support our schools at the polls. Vote for the school bonds and sales tax increase.
UNCG’s fall-semester classes will begin Tuesday, as originally planned. The rest of the semester, though, has been changed dramatically. Among the highlights:
Click here for more information on the UNCG website.
The aftermath of the May 13 fire at 923 Carr Street has played out to its end, for now at least. The remains of the house have been demolished and the wreckage hauled away. The site has been leveled and seeded, as the Historic Preservation Commission ordered. Damage to 925 Carr Street has been repaired almost fully; the roof has been replaced and the new siding apparently just needs to be painted. The lot has been sold. Eventually a new house will be built, but the owners are in no hurry.
The sale of the property closed Monday. The buyers are Alexa Barwick and Eric Snavely, who live next door at 925 Carr Street. The lot is tiny, just 0.11 acre. Similarly small lots have been built upon recently in College Hill, so there’s no doubt that a new house can be built, despite problematic setback requirements that came into effect many decades after the original house was built.
With the fall semester about to begin, college students are facing the same challenges as the rest of us in these difficult times. But many must do so without a steady income or financial support from their families. The Spartan Open Pantry helps UNCG and Greensboro College students avoid — or overcome — hunger. A joint project of the Wesley-Luther Campus Ministry and the UNCG Dean of Students Office, the pantry provides non-perishable food to students at the two institutions who are facing food insecurity (and to UNCG staff who are struggling as well). Please join the College Hill Neighborhood Association in supporting the SOP now.
1 p.m.: Arrival
1:30 p.m.: The Beast waits.
3 p.m.: Demolition begins.
3:30 p.m.: Pause. The Beast is thirsty.
5 p.m.: The first dump truck is deftly loaded.
5:10 p.m.: The west side of 921 Carr Street, also built in 1910, gets some afternoon sun for the first time in 110 years.
6:20 p.m.: After another dump truck has been loaded and the final rooms knocked down, the day is done.
The Historic Preservation Commission has approved a request for permission to demolish 923 Carr Street, the College Hill home severely damaged in a fire last month. The College Hill Neighborhood Association supported the request. Neighbors cited the house’s three chimneys, now unsupported by a roof, as a particular hazard.
The house was was built in 1910. It was a significant structure in the neighborhood, even though it was increasingly an eyesore after many years as a rental property. “Its removal will leave a gap in an otherwise intact block of historic houses that are unique in Greensboro because of their close spacing, short setback from the street and architectural rhythm,” the historic preservation staff said in its recommendation to approve the demolition. Two houses on that side of the block have been extensively renovated in the past two years; another is being renovated now.
923 Carr burned early in the morning of May 13. The family that was renting the house all managed to get out unharmed. The house lost its entire roof in the fire; more than 11 inches of rain have fallen since May 13, compounding the damage. The fire badly damaged back of the house as well. The Greensboro Fire Department responded quickly and was able to minimize damage to the very close houses on either side.
Property owner Andy Clark told the commission the house is too badly damaged to repair. He agreed to let Architectural Salvage of Greensboro see whether porch columns and other materials could be saved but expressed doubt about whether the structure is stable enough for them to work in it safely.
Under state law, the commission’s only options were to approve the request to demolish the house or to approve it with a delay of up to 365 days. The city will issue a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition with five conditions:
Clark said he expects preliminary work, such as testing for asbestos and cutting off the property’s gas line, to get under way soon. He said the house could be demolished within two or three weeks. Afterward, he plans to sell the property, he said.
Beth Langlois, chair of the beautification program, reports:
The neighborhood flower beds weathered the winter and spring very well.
Does anyone have an opinion on the roses at Walker and Mendenhall? Are they a bit too tall? Should they be lowered a foot? Any trouble seeing when approaching the stop sign coming up Walker?
The “Patriotic bed” at Rankin and Mendenhall was “skillfully” destroyed by a “lucky car thief.” Annuals were planted last summer and fall. I had planned on putting in perennials for a more permanent bed. Lonnie and Noreena Cole have volunteered to help care for the bed.
Other volunteers would be greatly appreciated to help weed the other gateway beds.
At the Rankin/Mendenhall bed, I purpose three red knockout roses across the back, in the middle of the bed three white gaura and seven white swan cone flowers. The front of the bed would be blue salvia. Cost: $146.38, including mulch. In the fall we would do pansies again as with the other beds.