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GC Hawley renovations could be $21M

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OXFORD — In a follow-up on Monday to an initial proposal made in November, architects from the Raleigh office of LS3P gave a more detailed presentation regarding renovations at G.C. Hawley Middle School to the county’s school board.

One of the older schools in the district and the oldest school in the southern part of the county, Hawley Middle’s current structure has been subject to criticism from concerned parents and well as citizens due to its decaying state and outdated architectural flaws for several years. This includes eroding window insulation and flooding in the center court of the main building.

In her presentation to the Granville County Public Schools Board of Education, LS3P Chief Practice Officer Katherine Peele reiterated recommendations on demolishing the entirety of the main building of the campus as well as the classroom buildings designated “Building C” connected to it.

The original construction of the buildings date back to 1965 and 1962 respectively. Building C was renovated in 2005.

“With the current student body and staff being about 575, we have talked about planning for a school for up to 700 students, anticipating some growth in the future,” Peele told the board.

The presentation also included an ideal timetable of events from March 2020 onward assuming there are no roadblocks in design and construction with a proposed completion time of fall 2022

Renovations for buildings that would still be used include the gymnasium, which was found to be in good condition structurally but is in need of air conditioning, plumbing repairs and an expansion to the underutilized gym stage. The gym ceiling and walls also need to be painted.

“What we have to present is a ‘base concept design,’ meaning we’re proposing a main building with all its preliminary costs but also offering alternatives to add on to the site,” Peele said.

The base design calls for a main building with a low-slope roof that would house school administration, 6th and 7th grade classrooms, a new media center and music and art classrooms.

It would cost an estimated $21.9 million, including $18.9 million for construction. Alternatives presented included a sloped metal roof unto the base design ($2.2 million) and a new 350-seat auditorium as part of the new main building ($3.6) million.

Board member Rob Rivers asked about the difference between the base roof design and the costlier sloped roof.

“Obviously, we don’t want to be penny wise and a pound foolish,” Rovers said. “Is there a way you can qualify if we have a flat roof, which has more leak problems than a sloped roof and the gold-standard metal roof? You say that’s a 50 year roof. Can you guarantee nothing is going to leak in that for 50 years?”

Peele responded that the life cycle of a low slope roof is 15-20 years.

The school board must consider how to house students displaced during the construction. If the students remained on campus, it’s estimated that at least $1.5 million would be needed to house them in four large modular buildings. That costs includes set-up, delivery and use of temporary sidewalks and utilities.

Board Chairman David Richardson emphasized that no decision would be made after the presentation. The next step will be to confer with liaisons from the county commissioners.

“As a board we’d want to figure out what our final goal and outcome want to be and work backwards from there. March 16 is our next liaison meeting and a board work session after that. Obviously, at the very least this project is going to be at least $20 million dollars.”

Board member Leonard Peace recommended the district find a way to reduce costs before presenting anything to the commissioners.

Commissioners “are going to get the same numbers that we have and I can see them saying on some parts ‘we can’t do that,’” Peace said.

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