Wake commissioners move forward on technical high school

mquillin@newsobserver.comDecember 3, 2012 

Wake County commissioner Joe Bryan

— Wake County Commissioners moved a step closer to establishing a technical high school in South Raleigh Monday by approving the $4.1 million to purchase of the former bottling plant where the school would be located.

After nearly an hour in closed session talk about the plan, the board unanimously approved the funding.

If the county can come to an agreement with KSC-Wilmington Street LLC, it would buy the building and pay another $150,000 for professional fees such as engineering and surveying.

Monday’s action is an amendment to the memorandum of understanding the county has with KSC-Wilmington Street, and newly-elected board chairman Joe Bryan said it would allow negotiations to go forward.

The $4.1 million would come from uncommitted cash in the Wake County Public Schools capital projects fund. Millions more would be needed to renovate the building.

County commissioners and school board members have supported the proposal to build the county’s first high school dedicated to teaching what were once called “vocational skills,” such as plumbing, auto-body repair, cosmetology and refrigeration, as well as skills in more high-tech fields such as biopharmaceuticals.

The Career and Technical Education High School would be a partnership with Wake Technical Community College, allowing students to graduate with technical certificates as well as a high school diploma. Wake Tech students would use the building on nights and weekends.

Bryan was elected chairman of the board earlier in the meeting, and commissioner Phil Matthews was chosen again as co-chairman as Republicans held control of the board.

Newly elected Caroline Sullivan and incumbents Betty Lou Ward and James West were sworn in for new terms.

In taking over as chairman, a position Bryan has held twice before, he said his personal goal for the board’s coming year would be “trying to re-establish a partnership with the Wake County Board of Education,” and to put forth a school bond issue.

The two entities have been at odds, especially since the Democratic-led school board fired former schools superintendent Tony Tata, and Bryan said it would be extremely difficult to get voters to approve a school bond issue if the two groups don’t work together to promote it.

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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