News briefs: School named; downtown site sold; council retreat shortened

01/11/2014 3:01 PM

01/11/2014 3:03 PM

School board names North Raleigh middle school

The Wake County school board on Tuesday approved a name for the new middle school in northwest Raleigh.

The school board chose Pine Hollow Middle School as the name for the school that will be built along Leesville Church and Strickland roads in Raleigh. Pine Hollow was chosen because of the natural features of the site.

New principal for Athens Drive

The Wake County school board announced Tuesday that James Hedrick will be the new principal of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

Hedrick has been principal of Green Hope High School in Cary since 2005. His start date at Athens Drive, where his salary will be $131,556, hasn’t been determined yet.

Former principa l William Crockett, who led Athens Drive since 2006 and worked in education for more than 40 years, announced late last year that he would retire at the end of 2013. Charles Langley has been the interim principal.

Council OKs Charter Square site sale

The Raleigh City Council signed off on the sale of the Charter Square downtown office tower site Tuesday, approving the deal with Dominion Realty Partners for $6.3 million.

The move paves the way for construction to begin this month on the 11-story, $54 million building at the south end of Fayetteville Street. The site is atop a city-owned underground parking deck. Plans for Charter Square had been stalled for years amid a sluggish economy.

The city bought the property back from the previous developer in November. The new deal gives Dominion a two-year option to buy the north side of the original Charter Square site, where a second office tower is planned. The city will also pay Dominion $500,000 to build a public walkway through the site connecting Fayetteville Street and Wilmington Street.

Dominion also gets access to 583 spaces in the underground deck, and it has a 30-year option to purchase the entire deck. Parts of the deck and East Lenoir Street will be closed during construction.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

Vote on dog restrictions postponed

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday tabled a vote to restrict where dogs are allowed in city parks.

The controversial proposal to keep dogs out of playgrounds, athletic fields and other sports facilities now goes to the council’s public works committee for more debate. The new rules – which also would require a six-foot leash on greenway trails – were unanimously approved by the city’s appointed parks advisory board. The board also called for increasing fines for violators and stepping up enforcement with more animal control officers.

Several council members said they were hesitant about the new rules. They’ve received a series of emails from dog owners who say the restrictions would leave them with few places to take their pets. “This probably would benefit from further consideration to make sure we’re not going too extreme on our rule change here,” Councilman Wayne Maiorano said.

The public works committee, which could take up the issue as early as next week, will also consider how to address dog attacks reporting recently in the city’s dog parks.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

Council cuts short Wilmington retreat

The Raleigh City Council has condensed its planned retreat later this month and will spend only one night in an out-of-town hotel to cut costs.

When the retreat – the council’s first out-of-county meeting in more than 20 years – was approved last month, the schedule called for a two-night stay. The retreat would have begun Wednesday afternoon, wrapping up around midday Friday.

Now the council will hold two full-day meetings Jan. 30-31, which is expected to save the city several thousand dollars, city manager Ruffin Hall said.

“That does save a little bit of cost, and it does save you some time,” he said, adding that there will be enough time to get through the full agenda.

Two council members had questioned the cost of going out of town for a meeting. “I think that’s a good compromise,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

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