By Barry Merrill
Southern Wayne High School’s parents were promised again that the school’s second gym would finally become a reality. The proposed replacement of the 30-year-old temporary classrooms may have to wait several more years.County Commissioner Joe Daughtery told SWHS parents two weeks ago that the estimates had come in above what was budgeted for the gym and replacement classrooms, and asked what options they might consider.
Eighteen years ago in recognition of the need for additional gyms at the county high schools, the county approved the construction of new competition gyms at Charles B. Aycock and Rosewood high schools. There were promises made to the other schools.
Ten years ago in recognition of continuing unfunded school construction needs, the Southern Wayne gym was listed, but when the list was reconstructed, still unfunded, the Southern Wayne gym was not included in the five year priorities. Newly appointed Commissioner Ed Cromartie of Mount Olive won approval for the gym to be moved back up to the top priorities.
Two years ago, new schools superintendent Dr. Michael Dunsmore told SWHS parents that the project would include replacements for the now 30-year-old mobile classrooms behind the gym.
Mr. Daughtery suggested the best the county might be able to do at this time was an auxiliary gym.
Commissioners Joe Gurley and Mr. Cromartie attended the meetings with the parents. Mr. Cromartie stated Saturday morning that no final decisions had been reached, and there were hopes that the project, once bid out, would come in under budget. Mr. Daughtery, however, was not as confident.
Still, Mr. Cromartie said he felt commissioners would do what was right to give SWHS what was right and comparable facilities to the rest of the county.
The Wayne County Board of Education is expected to discuss the issue at their meeting this afternoon (Tuesday).