School Board Says No: Bidding Process Halted For Davie High Addition

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 1, 2012

Beth Cassidy
Enterprise Record

By a 5-2 vote, the Davie Board of Education voted last week to put the brakes on the bidding process for renovating Davie High.
At the end of the nearly three hour meeting, which was expected to last an hour and a half, Chair Barbara Owens said the vote means the bid process has stopped, but that the project is still open for discussion.
Steve Ridenhour was most vocal about beginning the project, expected to cost between $5.8 and $6 million, by giving the go ahead to the architect to collect bids, and it was his motion that began the discussion. Paul Drechsler was the other yes vote.
Ridenhour and Chad Fuller bounced the discussion back and forth, with Ridenhour saying it was “starting the process,” and Fuller replying, “Starting the process to me doesn’t mean we go down there and spend $6 million.”
Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness began the meeting with a PowerPoint presentation of the history of the school, created from the 1954 consolidation of four schools, Mocksville, Cooleemee, Shady Grove and Farmington, and a picture of those on the consolidation committee, Gordon Tomlinson, Eugene Bennett, R.R. Everhart, and Burton Seats.The tax rate at the time was $.92 per $100 valuation, 30 cents more than now, and taxes went up $.16 to pay for an $800,000 school bond.
It was after a facilities assessment, conducted by an architect hired by the board of education, that the vote to consolidate the four schools was taken. The assessment included items such as renovating cafeterias and gymnasiums.
Hartness asked the board, “Does any of this sound familiar?”
He pointed out there was a great deal of turmoil in the state and nation during that time, and noted then Superintendent Curtis Price died during his tenure as superintendent.
When the four schools were closed, they were younger than the high school is now.
“The people in the picture were investors and risk-takers at the time. We cannot stand still. We have needs and we have to figure out how to approach those needs,” Hartness said.
Architect Tom Balke of Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, told the board bids could go out in September, be back around Oct. 15, and work could begin at the end of October. He talked about how the campus might be repurposed, by preserving K building (the newest building at 20 years old), using the proposed new two-story classroom building, and tearing down the remainder of the buildings, except for the large gym.Administrative offices could move to the new building, with Pre-K in K building, and new athletic fields, including soccer and baseball, could be located at the back of the property.
There was discussion of how much space the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recommends for classrooms, with Balke saying a minimum is 750 square feet, but that DPI recommends 850 square feet.
Assistant Superintendent Jeff Wallace said, “I’ve been in Reagan five times, and their classrooms are 750 square feet, and they’re packed.”
Balke said 750 “just doesn’t cut it. Those are minimums; it doesn’t mean you can’t go beyond it.”
Balke reminded the board the recommendation from the …