Wake school board abandons site for new high school

Posted February 16, 2010
Updated February 17, 2010

— Wake County school board members voted 5-4 Tuesday to abandon a proposed site for what's expected to be the district's largest high school and to pursue land deals on two other potential sites.

The move could cost the school system an additional $15.4 million and delay the opening of the new school, known as H-6, by as much as two years, to 2014, board members heard Tuesday.

Concerns about traffic congestion, cost overruns and safety prompted the board in December to stop work on the tentatively named Forest Ridge High School, near the intersection of Forestville Road and U.S. Highway 401.

The school board will now look at two other sites – one at U.S. 401 and Louisbury Road and another at Rolesville and Quarry roads northeast of Raleigh.

About $1.5 million of the anticipated $15.4 million in additional costs would go toward due diligence and design-site adaptations.

Another $3.9 million would cover an estimated 5 percent cost inflation for construction and other physical needs for the school; and $10 million would be needed to house students in mobile classrooms while the new school is under construction, school system staff told board members.

The board also voted 4-3 to ask Rolesville, Wake Forest, Raleigh, Knightdale and Wake County – municipalities served by the school – to pay a combined amount of approximately $7 million to help offset costs in abandoning the Forestville Road site.

During a meeting of the board’s Committee of the Whole Tuesday, some board members said that $15.4 million is too much, considering budgetary concerns – such as teacher and employee layoffs and the inability to purchase textbooks and other school supplies.

Board member Keith Sutton said the school board has the responsibility to open schools with the least amount of spending in the least amount of time.

"I don't think anyone around the table feels like the H-6 site is that sexy," he said, wanting to know if there were other options – such as widening the two-lane Forestville Road – that would make other board members happy with the current proposed site.

"This is the wrong site," board member Chris Malone said. "It should never have been approved in the first place. This is beyond the conversation of money."

Other board members said that although they don't want to spend more money than necessary, the high school is a long-term investment and another site is something that seriously needs to be considered.

The $74 million high school is expected to hold about 2,200 students.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • superman Feb 17, 2010

    I thought the textbooks were furnished by the state-- dont think the board has any idea of what money comes from where yet. Guess they think it grows on trees. They will find out soon enough that the county commissioners dont just give away money. There is plenty of cheap land near Fuquay and Harnett County. Does the board really think that they going to get money from the towns because they changed their mind? If the board changed their mind-- they need to eat their mistake assuming that we all think it was a mistake.

  • time4real Feb 17, 2010

    YEAH to the new board for finally putting this one out of its misery. And ours!

  • rand321 Feb 16, 2010

    It would be interesting to see who owns and controls the alternate sites?

  • rand321 Feb 16, 2010

    Whats $15million. We are going to save so much from not busing anybody!

  • Greyhound_Girl Feb 16, 2010

    cameragirl...for one: Johnston County doesn't bus students for socio-economic diversity.

    Other than that, I don't know what they do...I do not have any kids, so I just pay.

  • DbzHugz Feb 16, 2010

    Here is the website I saw about this. Thought I would share

  • cameragirl Feb 16, 2010

    Why would this affect the elementary schools? This is a high school not an elementary school. Sometimes government just doesn't make any sense and we the public fall for it. If they had 1 plan each for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. It cost a lot of money to draw up new plans each time a school is built. Why can Johnston County build schools for less? Our School Board should look into how Johnston County keeps costs down and use some of their ideas here in Wake County. In case that haven't noticed tax collections are down and they shouldn't be immune to the cuts.

  • DbzHugz Feb 16, 2010

    Was that the site with the controversy because of the graveyards, and slave graves...weren't the people in that neighborhood and along that stretch of Forestville Road trying to help preserve the graves and graveyards instead of having them bulldozed and disrespected by building on top of them?

    Maybe I am wrong about the location...I could be....I just remember something about all of that when the sites were being chosen.

  • time4real Feb 16, 2010

    "How ridiculous is it to be cutting 20 million ..."

    not at all, this is the new way of life for this and most school systems. It's reality and just a shame that the Wake School system is clueless on how to deal with real budget cuts. They could cut transportation, the bloated administration, close a couple of schools down for a year or two, go to a 4 day week for many or several other things, but instead teachers will be the ones, once again, paying this price. I wouldn't wish what's about to happen to our teachers again, on my worst enemy, but one thing you can count on, later this year 100's of teachers will once again be removed to adjust to the additional cuts that the state took from Washington and we don't have the money to replace. And that's beyond the 20 million! It should be a doozie time here in short order.

  • hoopster Feb 16, 2010

    How ridiculous is it to be cutting 20 million from the school budget according to the superindendent and then waste 10 to 12 million on a site that has already been purchased. Please do not make this a 12 million dollar mistake because some residents are upset that a school is coming to their neighborhood. This is almost as bad as the republicans stonewalling every effort of our president to bring some unity and harmony to this country. C'mon people wake up!! Let not allow our hard earned tax money go to waste to satisfy a few. WE need to think of the greater good of our students who deserve the best that we can afford. Every child cannot afford a private education. Education budgets are being cut each and every day. That means that people will be out of work, drawing unemployment, yet we spend 10 to 12 million on a site that we are going to change. Go Figure!!!