A North Carolina school district has announced an ambitious $2 billion plan to upgrade all of its facilities, rebuilding 22 schools on existing sites and renovating 19 more.
The plan by Guilford County Schools (GCS) also includes building seven new schools and expanding three more to combat overcrowding and allow for increased enrollment. Additionally, GCS will be moving some programs to renovated schools and closing 13 buildings and 11 administrative facilities, according to a press release.
“This plan doesn’t recommend patching aging facilities that have been deteriorating for decades,” superintendent of schools Sharon L. Contreras said in the release. “This plan would transform our facilities not only for our current students, but for future generations.”
The new plan includes details on expanding choice programs and schools, particularly in Greensboro and High Point, where student demand for more options has been the greatest, according to GCS. Major renovations are included to better accommodate Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming at district high schools, the county said.
All mobile classrooms, of which are there are more than 500 with some dating back to the 1970s, will be eliminated.
Cooperative Strategies, a school-facility planning firm, developed the plan, which was shared with a special joint committee established by the school board and county commissioners in 2017. It is overseeing the overhaul of GCS needs and capital spending.
A second meeting was held on Dec. 19.
"Not doing anything is not an option,” David Sturtz, a partner with Cooperative Strategies, said in the release. “These costs are only going up, and many district schools have reached the point where replacing outdated facilities is more cost-effective than trying to maintain old buildings that are not designed to meet modern standards for teaching and learning, safety, technology and other basic building needs, including the behind-the-scenes systems that are starting to fail district-wide.”