Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Wake’s Rolesville High nominated for design award

November 1, 2013 


Shown here is an exterior view of the four-story facade of the new Rolesville High School, located in Rolesville, on Aug. 20.


Rolesville High School was a source of debate during the recent campaign that resulted in passage of a $810 million school construction bond issue for Wake County schools.

Now it could be a source of awards and recognition for the Wake County school system.

Last month, the Wake school board applied for the N.C. School Boards Association’s Award for Excellence in Architectural Design for Rolesville High, Rolesville Middle and Lacy Elementary schools.

Rolesville High’s design includes floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in more daylight and look out on courtyards at the front and rear of the school. A gymnasium and auditorium are located in a wing on the school’s first floor, and the cafeteria is divided into four units, with one located on each floor of the school.

The school is divided into 16 pods where students spend at least part of the day with the same group of classmates. To promote working in projects and groups, there are no hallways; classrooms open into common areas where students can work, including the individual cafeterias.

Critics of the bond issue focused on the $75 million price tag for the school, which is Wake’s first four-story, 2,262-student design. Critics charged the cost was too expensive, using terms such as a “monument to architectural achievement” and “a great Taj Mahal palace.”

School officials even combated rumors that Rolesville had marble floors. They said they were actually made of polished concrete.

Raleigh brings Sauls on staff

Raleigh leaders this week named James Sauls as the city’s new economic development director.

Anyone who’s familiar with Sauls’ work might think he already holds the job. For the past two years, he’s been the director of Raleigh Economic Development, a separate entity under the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce that partnered with the city to recruit new jobs and companies to Raleigh.

Now he’ll do similar work from within city hall, reporting to planning director Mitchell Silver.

“After three rounds of searches over the past nine months, I am thrilled we found the best candidate right here in Raleigh for the economic development manager’s position,” Silver said in a news release. “James is a proven leader. He knows Raleigh and has brought jobs and great projects to our city.”

Sauls replaces Dwight Bassett, who held the job for just seven months in 2012 before he left Raleigh and returned to his old job in Chapel Hill.

Sauls also brings small-town experience to the job as the former economic development director for Fuquay-Varina, where he still lives. He’ll start his new job on Monday and expects the transition should be easy.

“It is great that I already have relationships with Raleigh’s economic development partners,” he said in the news release. “Now it is just a matter of strengthening those relationships.”

PAC backs Beasley, Karriker

A political action committee associated with the N.C. Association of Realtors has spent $47,900 promoting Durham City Council candidates Omar Beasley and Pam Karriker.

According to a finance report filed with the Durham County Board of Elections, the N.C. Homeowners Alliance paid a Florida political consultant for campaign mailers.

The alliance is listed as “inactive” by the State Board of Elections and shares a Greensboro address with the active N.C. Realtors PAC. The report lists Bryan Jenkins of Greensboro, an employee of the Realtors Association, as the alliance’s “custodian of the books.”

The Realtors PAC has given $200 to Beasley’s campaign committee and the same amount to his opponent for the Ward 2 council seat, Eddie Davis.

It also donated $500 to Karriker’s campaign and $100 to her opponent in Ward 3, Don Moffitt; and $600 to incumbent Mayor Bill Bell.

According to pre-election reports filed this week, Moffitt’s campaign committee has led all candidates in the municipal election, both in donations and spending. His report shows $24,715 in contributions during the election cycle that began Jan. 1, and $17,316 in expenses.

Karriker’s committee reported contributions totaling $6,560 and expenses of $5,161.

Davis’ committee reported $13,416.38 in and $10,718.19 spent, while Beasley’s totals were $4,187 in and $4,948 out.

Bell’s committee reported $11,086 in and $1,961 spent; his opponent, minister Sylvester Williams, reported $2,130 in and $2,005 spent.

Political events

• The Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake will have a presentation on the Common Core school curriculum on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The cost for lunch is $20. Check-in and social time is 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon. RSVP to Lisa Werner at 919-303-8870.

Compiled by staff writers T. Keung Hui, Colin Campbell and Jim Wise.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to Send items by noon Thursday.

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