Guilford County, N.C. (WGHP) — What will have to change in a southwest Guilford County neighborhood for a new STEM school to be built?
That’s the question people who live in the proposed area want to know. They feel they are not included in the conversations, and now they are setting up their own meetings.
They want answers about why the intersection at Boylston Road and Bunker Hill Road is the best spot for a school. The stop sign at the corner is now the bulletin board to advertise the meeting they are hosting on May 2 to get everyone on the same page as the project moves forward.
“It’s an intelligent group around here, and we are coming together to find out more information to figure out how this is really going to impact us,” said Patricia Derrick, who lives on Boylston Road.
The biggest concerns are safety and traffic along the rural roads.
“We have come together updating documentation just on eyewitness of wreck accounts we have seen over the past couple of years,” Derrick said.
The school district’s legal team believes it has solutions to the anticipated increase in traffic.
“Widening roads, adding turn lanes, adding storage stacking,” said Amanda Hodierne, the lawyer representing GCS.
She says there could also be a three-way stop instead of a sharp turn on Boylston Road.
But homeowner Anne Blankenship doesn’t think it’s the right solution.
“They look pretty on paper…they believe it’s an answer, but as a resident in this area for 24 years, it’s not going to work,” Blankenship said. “If you have got people stopping up there, and you got two or three Amazon trucks, an Old Dominion 18-wheeler in there, you’ve got the car riders in there, it is going to be gridlock.”
They are proud to call the area home and want it to stay the way it is.
“This farm has been in my husband’s family for 110 years. It’s full of history and family legacy. It’s something we look forward to passing on to our children, grandchildren, so this school would have a huge impact,” said Amy Purcell, who lives along Gray Road.
If there does have to be a K-8 STEM school to ease overcrowding, people want transparency on the plans.
“We just really don’t like the secrecy and how the school system originally approached residents,” Derrick said.
Superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley plans to keep the neighbors involved as they move forward.
“I think a little bit more time and attention to how decisions or recommendations are made present a lot of opportunity,” Dr. Oakley said.
In the meantime, long-time homeowners are preparing to present their position.
“Be able to present a coherent argument for alternate locations, for the problems with this location, draw on everyone’s expertise in from the area,” Purcell said.
“I’m passionate about it because I love this area. It’s quiet. It’s rural…I just don’t think it’s appropriate for a school,” Blankenship said.
Their plan is to host the community meeting on May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Shady Grove Wesleyan Church.
Then they plan to attend future zoning meetings in the future.