Less than six months after county voters approved a $160 million school bond in the November 2014 general election, projects planned for completion early in the bond’s five-year schedule continue to move forward.
The New Hanover County Board of Education announced its pick for the name of the new elementary school planned for the northeast part of the county during a March 3 meeting: Porter’s Neck Elementary School.
Each board member ranked a list of five options: Porter’s Neck Elementary, Edgewater Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Page’s Creek Elementary, and Port City Elementary. Porter’s Neck Elementary was the No. 1 choice of four board members. Two board members picked Edgewater Elementary School as their No. 1 choice for the name of the school, which will sit on an 18-acre plot of land at 202 Edgewater Club Road.
The board’s choice will be subject to a six-month public comment period before the name is finalized. The school board also solicited public input to generate a list of possible school names following the bond’s approval. Most of the public feedback requested to name the school after prominent community members or characteristics of the school’s geographic location. The board decided during a Feb. 10 meeting to name the school based on its location.
The new $16.4 million school will be built using a prototype of the design used for Castle Hayne Elementary School. The board approved the design plans, completed by LS3P Associates, during an Oct 14, 2014, meeting. The 82,000-square-foot building will house 595 students. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.
The school board also approved the selection of designers for nine upcoming school improvement projects, both bond-funded and funded through the district’s capital improvement fund, during the March 3 meeting.
Twenty-four firms responded to the school system’s request for qualifications for professional design services in January. A pre-selection committee reviewed responses before interviewing firms interested in working on projects to renovate and expand Laney, Hoggard and New Hanover high schools, and improve five other schools.
Sawyer Sherwood and Associate will work on the Laney project, BMH Architects will work on the Hoggard project, and Becker Morgan Group will work on the New Hanover project. Terracon Consultants, REI Engineers, and Stanford White were selected for the five additional improvement projects.
LS3P Associates was selected to design renovations for the old Rock Church of Wilmington building on Sidbury Road, purchased by the school system in 2014 to serve as a swing site for College Park Elementary School students while the school is torn down and rebuilt using bond money.
The board will approve contracts with each design firm during a future meeting.
Fourteen projects in the $160 million school bond, whittled down from nearly $400 million in needs, will provide district-wide technology, safety and infrastructure improvements in addition to construction of the new Porters Neck elementary school, reconstruction of College Park and Blair elementary schools, and renovation and expansion of Wrightsville Beach School.