Wake County Schools

Wake eyes shuttered industrial plant for new high school

Posted June 18, 2015 6:42 p.m. EDT

— 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."