Wake County Schools

Wake eyes shuttered industrial plant for new high school

Posted June 18, 2015

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— The Wake County Board of Education is considering a former industrial plant site in north Raleigh for a new high school, prompting concern from some about possible hazardous waste on the property.

The board on Tuesday agreed to offer $4.5 million for the 32-acre site at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and New Hope Church Road. Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based AVX Corp. closed its electronic components plant there a few years ago.

The plant, which Corning Glass Works opened more than 50 years ago, remains on state and federal inactive hazardous waste sites priority list, meaning that it's been identified as a place where hazardous waste may have been spilled. State environmental regulators conduct routine groundwater monitoring of the site.

The school district is conducting its own environmental reviews to ensure safety, and school board members say they won't go through with any deal for the property until they are certain the site is safe. Yet, some people say the plan is too risky.

"I just see danger. I don't even know why they would want to put children in harm's way," Minisha Gray said. "Sometimes things are overlooked and things are unknown, so I just wouldn't."

Resident David Smith said he has no problems with the site if studies show there's no hazardous waste there.

"We need schools. North Carolina needs schools," Smith said. "I think that they should take every precaution before they do it because kids are important, and we don't want anything like waste to take place there."

8 Comments

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  • Melissa Noderer Jun 19, 2015
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    "The plant, which Corning Glass Works opened more than 50 years ago, remains on state and federal inactive hazardous waste sites priority list, meaning that it's been identified as a place where hazardous waste may have been spilled. State environmental regulators conduct routine groundwater monitoring of the site."
    If it was as easy as "mop needed on aisle 5" then why hasn't this site been rehabbed and used for commercial development after all the years of sitting vacant? I think the answer is easy, brownfields are toxic places and not easy to clean up. A bucket of hot water and Mop-n- Glo won't do the trick. Neither will gallons of Lysol. Bottom line: If Corning would donate the site and contributes to the cost of clean up, then it might be worth it for Wake County to pay for the balance of the clean up costs. The best thing to do is to run from this "deal'. Drop it like hot potato

  • Rachel Dolezal Jun 19, 2015
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    Rumors swirling around say class field trips could include swimming and tubing on one of Duke Energy's many scenic coal ash ponds throughout the state.

  • Chad Burnham Jun 19, 2015
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    It cleans up the contamination and turns the area into a highly productive use without having to clear new land somewhere else. I think it is a great idea, that should be done extremely carefully.

  • Jeff Herring Jun 19, 2015
    user avatar

    This is a Super-fund site. I expect such nonsense from republicans, but democrats should know better. BAD IDEA. So why don't the school board move their offices to the coal ash dump in Chatham County - I like that idea better. The problem is not just with the building, the soil and ground water beneath the building is likely contaminated.

  • Marcy Lyn Jun 19, 2015
    user avatar

    Sure, clear the land and build on it. Who said they have to use the old building.
    Great place for a very much needed school.

  • Pete Knowles Jun 19, 2015
    user avatar

    Renovation of this site would cost considerably more than new construction, imo. An unused building deteriorates muc faster than an occupied one and this building is in poor shape. Go check it out.

  • Russell Chapman Jun 19, 2015
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    View quoted thread



    Actually, I think it makes a lot of sense. The building sits unused, the cost of new construction is more than renovation and while this site potentially has environmental issues, these can be remediated. I applaud them for thinking out of the box on this one instead of just throwing money at a new, more costlier building.

  • Rick Price Jun 18, 2015
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    Oh yeah, that makes alot of since ,put children in a 50 year old building when we are building new schools in other parts of the county.