Wake commissioners approve land for new HS


The commissioners approved $4.2 million in funding for the Wake County school system to purchase the new location for Rolesville High School.

The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the site in a 4-3 vote. The vote was followed by a heated debate that at times became very political.

"This is just one more decision on a whole string of political decisions, Commissioner Stan Norwalk said.

"He's trying to get even with the school board for different issues," WCPSS Board Chair Ron Margiotta said. "I can understand him taking a position on other issues but certainly, let's not use the kids as pawns."

Last month, the school board accepted a plan to purchase the site in the Rolesville area that would potentially be ready to open by 2013.

"We should be concerned with seats and the best location and who's better for choosing a location than the school board," Margiotta said.

"We are the banker," Norwalk countered. "But we can't move ahead without a cooperative arrangement with the school board."

Overall, the Rolesville site appears to be about $5 million cheaper to develop than the original site near the intersection of Highway 401 and Forestville Road --a location that was chosen two years ago by the previous school board.

The original site was set to open in 2012. But that site drew a lot of criticism, both in terms of the cost of the land to extra costs for rock removal and road improvements. Residents also said they didn't want the extra traffic disrupting their quiet neighborhood.

The site has already cost taxpayers more than $8 million, raising concerns for some commissioners about leaving that project for a new one.

"We can't ignore the fact that $8 million is nothing to sniff at," Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said.

"We have seen sites we have walked away from," Commissioner Paul Coble said.

The future of the original purchased site remains unclear at this time.

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