Olympic High ranks No. 2 on CMS needs list

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comMay 8, 2013 

— Mecklenburg County Commissioners are set to take up a school improvements list that ranks close to $9 million with Olympic High School near the top.

At its April 23 meeting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education listed $293.9 million in capital improvement needs to be voted on by the public in November. The bond request first has to go before county commissioners tonight, who’ll have the ability to re-rank needs through the summer.

“The projects and their benefits are spread across the district,” said Superintendent Heath Morrison, in a district release following the board meeting. “With so many of our schools built more than 50 years ago, the need for renovations, additions and upfits is urgent.”

The almost $300 million covers 18 projects. Ranked No. 2 is $8.96 million in improvements at Olympic. Plans include a 20-room addition, renovating the auditorium and improving the condition of existing facilities. The idea is to do away with portable classrooms.

The 18 projects are part of 142 overall on a 10-year needs assessment, which includes items like a replacement school for Steele Creek Elementary (No. 60), a pre-K through eighth-grade school to relieve Winget Park Elementary and Southwest Middle (No. 81), and another elementary school that could relieve crowding at Steele Creek (No. 90).

The total anticipated cost for the list is $1.8 billion. For now, the board will focus on the top 18 needs.

“These projects are critical to help our students, and our schools, move forward,” said Mary McCray, board chairwoman.

During the Feb. 28 annual Steele Creek Residents Association’s meeting, organizers announced the formation of and first $50,000 for the Olympic Foundation. Its goal is to raise money for educational projects where district funding runs short.

“We want to help support our teachers,” foundation president Charles Beatty said. “They’re doing a great job, and we want to be able to provide the extra resources to do the things they’d like to do but aren’t able to do.”

As of press time Friday, an agenda for tonight’s county commissioners’ meeting was not available. Other meetings this month include a budget and public policy workshop May 14 and a regular meeting May 21.

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