COLFAX, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County Schools leaders have long talked about needing new schools.
Overcrowding has been an issue for years. Back in 2019, the district made a master plan, which included building a new facility. Now, leaders are exploring a piece of land in Colfax, which could house a new K-8 school.
The land in question is about 32 acres at the corner of Boylston Road and Bunker Hill Road. The proposed school would be for about 900 students.
On Tuesday night, GCS representatives had a meeting where they answered questions and heard concerns from people who live in the area.
FOX8 crews talked with a board of education member who was at the meeting after hearing the superintendent’s budget recommendation earlier in the afternoon. She said there’s a balance between needing more schools and not being able to fully staff the ones they have now.
The district is currently down 88 teachers, 77 bus drivers and 76 maintenance workers, among needing other positions.
“Currently, Guilford County has seen recent economic growth with the addition of Boom Supersonic and Toyota coming to our community,” said Tara Trexler, the district’s chief financial officer.
Those big-name companies are driving more people to Guilford County. In the school district’s 2019 master plan, district leaders projected they’d need more space.
“We need more schools,” said Robin Sowell, who lives on Bunker Hill Road. “We need money to put in schools.”
They’re exploring options of where to potentially build a K-8 school. It could be on the corner of Boylston Road and Bunker Hill Road.
The plan caught a lot of people off guard, including Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch.
“I think the biggest problem is the lack of transparency,” Upchurch said. “I didn’t find out about this meeting until late last night when a constituent reached out to me.”
People who live in the area aren’t opposed to a school. They just want Guilford County Schools leaders to explain to them what could be coming to their neighborhood.
“Not everybody is going to be happy if you’re putting a school in,” Sowell said. “You need to tell them why it really was the best choice in a convincing manner and what you’re going to do to mitigate the issues these people are going to face.”
On Tuesday night, more than 50 people who showed up to Shady Grove Wesleyan Church in Colfax learned the school, which they thought would be a STEM center, might not be one.
“The magnet school sounds wickedly awesome,” Sowell said. “We’re not getting the magnet school anymore.”
A representative with Guilford County Schools told FOX8 the STEM academy will probably be built but maybe not on this property.
The people who had questions said they didn’t get a clear answer.
“We asked about redistricting the schools, which obviously they’re going to have to do because it’s really not far from the other Colfax schools,” Sowell said. “They can’t comment on that because…they don’t own the land yet.”
A spokesperson said GCS has not purchased the land.
It’s not clear when they could put in a bid for the land. After that, it would need to get approved for rezoning. This proposed school location is in the very early planning stages.