Local News

Controversial Modular Wake County School To Open Thursday

Posted August 24, 2005 11:13 a.m. EDT

— Parents fought hard to keep their children out of one Wake County school, but on Thursday, that school will open despite the controversy.

Forest Pines Elementary School will use a temporary modular school until a permanent building is finished in Wakefield Plantation two years from now. While three modular schools are opening in Wake County this year, the Forest Pines site in Wake Forest is receiving the most attention.

"I was nervous, but now I'm excited," said parent Marsha Uhlig about the past few months of debate.

A group of parents fought the location in Wake Forest saying the neighborhood was too dangerous and that the 5- to 6-mile drive was too far from home. Some even sued saying the deal to build the modular school on land the school system did not own was illegal.

In the end, the appeal to county commissioners and the courts did not matter. The school was built and the staff is ready to move forward.

"We're doing the right thing to educate our children in a safe and secure environment," said Freda Cole, the school's principal.

Fourth-grade teacher LaShara Gilkes said the neighborhood is safe.

"I'm a product of this neighborhood. I'm proud of it and I'm happy to be home," she said.

There will be added security as 32 security cameras will be placed around the school. A fence is around the perimeter, which is standard for all three modular schools, not just the Forest Pines site.

Some parents who opposed the issue will not be sending their children to Forest Pines. One family said it opted for private school. Other parents said they will made arrangements to send their children to other Wake County public schools.