Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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33 The roof on the new Meadow Lane Ele- mentary School will be Air Force blue. No surprise there. It was former base commander Col. Mark Slocum who nudged along the discussion that eventually lead to the county's decision to build the new school. Concerns about facilities conditions at Meadow Lane fueled a series of behind-the- scenes meetings during the spring of 2016. The meetings were attended by Goldsboro and county elected officials and staff, and represen- tatives from the Wayne County Chamber's Mil- itary Affairs Commission and Seymour John- son Air Force Base. Those discussions brought to light concerns of base personnel over a lack of advanced class offerings as well as the conditions and lack of security at schools –– particularly Meadow Lane –– where approximately a third of the 615 students have ties to the military. During a May 9, 2016, joint meeting of Wayne County commissioners and the school board, Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Dunsmore said conditions at Meadow Lane, including security, had created the perception in the military that the county's schools "are not good." Local leaders worried as well that the condi- tions could adversely impact decisions concern- ing the base's future including Base Relocation and Closure Commission findings. The new $21.8 million Meadow Lane is the outgrowth of those and other meetings on school facilities needs. It will be built on the existing campus and will include a separate wing to house Edge- wood Community Developmental School. The new Meadow Lane is projected to be ready for students by August 2018. The exist- ing school will continue to operate while the new one is being constructed. "Now, Mother Nature has a lot to say in that," Dunsmore said. "There are a lot of logis- tics there, but we have been very conservative with that time frame. As you know, they put up two new middle schools (Spring Creek and Grantham) in under a year." The Edgewood addition will be constructed after the old school is demolished. It is hoped students will move in between the Christmas 2018 and New Year's 2019 holidays, Dunsmore said. The military has a huge impact on Wayne County because of the amount of people it brings through the county, Dunsmore said. He added that while Col. Slocum had a lot to do with it, the credit for bringing about the new school plans could not be taken away from the cooperation shown by the school board, the board of commissioners, County Manager George Wood, Goldsboro City Manager Scott Stevens, Mayor Chuck Allen and the folks from Goldsboro. "Obviously Col. Slocum was very involved. We were all very involved and saw that need. It is obvious here with the work that we are doing that anytime you build a new school it's like going out and buying a new car. It's that new car smell, the new school," Dunsmore said. Parents, children, everybody wants to go to the new school, he said. But the county has a lot of buildings that are showing their age and need a lot of work. Along with projects to address those issues, the county is taking a hard look at attendance lines — to make sure it is getting the best use of the facilities it has, he said. That is a long process, Dunsmore said. Meadow Lane will be the third new school the county has built over the past four years, but unlike the other two that are located in rural areas, Meadow Lane is on a busy East Ash Street. The new Spring Creek and Grantham middle schools are "fabulous," but are outside Golds- boro proper, Dunsmore said. "I think it is going to be a great showpiece for Goldsboro and Wayne County as a whole, because obviously we bring in a lot of com- Looking to the future: the plan Ten-year-old Hany Shama uses one of several classroom computers for inde- pendent multimedia study at Meadow Lane Elementary School. Computers and learning software are used on a more frequent basis due to a technology and learning initiative taking place at the school. Daniel George, 9, left, and Kenai Black, 8, study for assignments during a structured independent learn- ing morning session at Meadow Lane Elementary School. See MEADOW LANE, Page 34 Story by STEVE HERRING Photos by SETH COMBS Meadow Lane Elementary School will undergo a transformation over the next couple of years thanks to a joint decision by the community and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. A new near-$21 million facility is planned to increase security and upgrade the school's security and weather-safety features.

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