Commissioners approve Whiteville City Schools construction plans

Commissioners approve Whiteville City Schools construction plans
Whiteville City Schools are moving ahead with construction on Whiteville High School after the Columbus County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the school system’s request to apply for a state grant. (Whiteville City Schools)

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Whiteville City Schools are moving ahead with construction on Whiteville High School after the Columbus County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the school system's request to apply for a state grant.

At Monday's Columbus County Board of Commissioners meeting, Whiteville City Schools Superintendent Kenny Garland presented an update on the status of the school system's construction plans.

According to Garland, school safety is part of the plans. Garland said it's hard to get around campus right now and renovations and additions will fix that.

"When we looked at developing a plan for the current campus of Whiteville High, school safety was the top priority, and it is even more so after the incident that occurred at Parkland in February," Garland said. "We have taken into consideration various resources that we currently have on that campus, the buildings that we will be able to utilize, and the buildings that we will not be able to utilize, and what we're trying to do is to bring connectivity to the campus of Whiteville High School."

The school system hired LS3P architect firm based in Wilmington to help design the project.

The layout includes starting 60,000 square feet of new construction and 10,000 square feet of renovations at the high school, according to Garland.

Phase 1 includes a new cafeteria, new classrooms, a visual arts facility, two health science rooms and a culinary arts venue.

"It will bring a much-needed update to the current campus," Garland said. "Some of the buildings on that campus are approaching 100 years old, and it will bring a much-needed update to the campus and provide us an opportunity to grow."

Phase 2 will add more buildings as they are needed, Garland said. It will also add vocational facilities, and include renovations to the media center and science lab. The weight room will be torn down to add a new gym.

County commissioners approved $3 million from county funds for the project.

The commissioners also approved using $250,000 from North Carolina lottery funds allocated to Whiteville City Schools to be utilized toward payment of the $333,000 committed by the school system overall.

The project will cost about $18 million and is set to start later this year.

Other meeting tasks included the commissioners unanimously approving $7,784 in additional funding for the Columbus County Municipal Airport.

Commissioners also said Donna Watson has chosen to leave the Animal Control Advisory Council to help with animal control in another district. The commissioners will appoint another person for her spot at a later date.

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