Olympic High School improvements ongoing

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comOctober 21, 2013 

— As bond backers try to convince voters on a $290 million plan for Mecklenburg County, it’s an already-approved bond that’s having a more immediate impact in Steele Creek.

Mecklenburg County voters approved a $516 million bond package in 2007. Included were the new 39-classroom Berewick and Rivergate elementary schools that opened in 2009. Another elementary school is under construction on N.C. 49 near The Palisades; it should be ready to open for next school year.

Work started last week on a new stadium with synthetic turf, field house and track at Olympic High School. That project, too, should be done by the next school year.

Steve Morgan, president of the Olympic High School Athletic Booster Club, said last week’s groundbreaking came months late on a recent schedule and years late from original plans. Construction is affecting the fall season. Home football games are being played at Waddell High School, a facility that’s also being shared with West Mecklenburg High School.

“Concession sales are down as a result, logistics are more difficult,” Morgan said. “Storage at school is limited. Most all JV games are scheduled away, putting a burden on the parents to travel and attend.”

Charles Wilkerson heads Alignment SW Charlotte, a group of civic leaders meeting regularly to partner with Steele Creek schools on everything from lunch buddies to technology donations for the classroom and post-graduate opportunities. Wilkerson understands what happened with the economy shortly after the 2007 bond passage to cause delays at Olympic.

“All I can say is, finally,” Wilkerson said. “It certainly has been a painful delay.”

He’s hopeful that because work at Olympic is among the last to be completed from the 2007 bonds, it will be first up should the new bond pass next month.

On Nov. 5, voters throughout Mecklenburg County will decide on a $290 bond featuring 17 projects. The bond includes renovations and additions at Olympic. Built in 1965, Olympic has 90 classrooms that house more than 2,200 students in five smaller schools. With bond approval, an additional 20 classrooms will be built for $8.96 million. The addition should be complete by January 2017.

Wilkerson said the backing is there locally for the bond. Among local businesses, support is strong, he said. His group meets Nov. 1 to further outline how community members can help the schools.

“I’m all for the money to come to the school,” Wilkerson said.

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