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Granville Board of Education talks Hawley Middle renovation

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OXFORD — A Raleigh-based architecture firm appraised the Granville County Board of Education on a potential renovation of Creedmoor’s G.C. Hawley Middle School at a special work session Nov. 25.

Katherine Peele, executive vice president of LS3P Architects, presented a plan that would demolish the main structure of buildings A and C, originally opened in 1962, and erect a new L-shaped structure that would directly connect to the gym and eliminate the open-air canopy separating the building.

The general concept is for a one- or two-story structure but Peele told the board a one-story structure at 98,000 square feet was more likely due to the school’s needs and potential land usage.

“What you’d want from a modern school is better security,” Peele told the board. “With one entrance for students to go through as well as moving the administrative area closer to the entrance.”

Other deficiencies found in the main building include a two-pipe HVAC system that does not dehumidify the air during warmer months, a courtyard area in the center gap of the structure prone to flooding, asbestos and exposed wiring, and undersized classrooms.

During the proposed renovation, modular classrooms would be located on-site in the vicinity of the cafeteria and gym buildings for one year during construction. However, board member Danny Eudy made a suggestion after the presentation that Hawley students could use classrooms currently vacant at other schools such as Creedmoor Elementary during the renovation.

Based on the general concept, Peele estimated the renovations could cost $18 million at $200 per square foot based on her previous experience and the high demand of construction contractors and shortage subcontractor labor.

“If we decide to keep Hawley, we’re going to have to spend money on it one way or another,” board chair Tom Houlihan said. “This board has said over and over again that we want to keep the site and do the work that needs to be done.”

The next steps would be for LS3P Architects to return to the board in February to present further data on the proposed renovation.

In other actions, the board approved school improvement plans for all schools in the district. The finalized plans came after several months of drafting by each school’s principal and leadership staff as well as multiple board work sessions to allow for members to engage with each school’s leadership team. The plans now go to NCDPI for final approval.

The board also approved a resolution from the North Carolina School Boards Association concerning fines and forfeitures owed to education systems across the state. The resolution comes on the heels of a 2008 North Carolina Superior Court decision that state agencies owed $747 million in civil fines and forfeitures that should have been paid into a fund for public education.

According to the resolution, $729.7 million is still owed and the enforceability of the judgment has recently been extended.