Alumni, residents weigh in on Cumberland County Schools' plan to move E.E. Smith High School

Monique John Image
Friday, April 26, 2024
Alumni, residents weigh in on plan to move E.E. Smith High School
The effort by Cumberland County Schools to move E.E. Smith High School to a plot of land near Fort Liberty is drawing attention in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE. N.C. (WTVD) -- The effort by Cumberland County Schools (CCS) to move E.E. Smith High School to a plot of land near Fort Liberty is drawing a lot of attention in Fayetteville.

Some community members endorse the major shift while others say they're concerned about the future. If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that E.E. Smith High School students need a new, upgraded facility.

At Tuesday's town hall meeting, CCS laid out why the district needs to rebuild and relocate the school to Stryker Golf Course where they'll have more space.

The spot on Stryker Golf Course is past the dead end of Bragg Boulevard, farther north in the direction of Spring Lake. CCS struck an agreement with Stryker to divvy up the golf course's property. However, they haven't identified specific boundaries for the plot of land where they're looking to build.

Some like alumni Marlon Hardy say they stand by the proposal.

"If the new school is going to be built state-of-the-art, all of the things that they saying that it's going to be is just going to benefit everybody," Hardy said.

"It's time for change," said Fred Clark, another alumni. "Future is good. Change is good."

"Progress is progress. But you know, just keep the name and keep the heart of the school," said Harrie Reid.

But some said they're worried the school could leave behind its legacy as a historically Black high school through such a big transition.

ALSO SEE:Fayetteville's E.E. Smith High School could move to location on Fort Liberty grounds

"I think the real gist of what people were saying last night is we don't want it to become something where we lose our culture. And that's very, very important," said Denise Jackson.

CCS officials said they're keeping E.E. Smith's name for the high school and that the school's pride will remain strong wherever it goes.

"Let's do what we need to do as a community, take it together one step at a time. Vote. Show up," said Malik Garrett-Muhammad of Fayetteville.

"You can still do things at the school," Hardy said. "And one thing that's never going to die is 1800 Seabrook Road. It's going to always be 1800. So I think it's going to be okay. It's just going to take some getting used to."