GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Pointing to water damage and mildew at Page High School, Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chair Skip Alston and Commissioner Carly Cooke called the conditions “unacceptable.”
On Thursday evening, commissioners will vote on a measure to put a $1.7 billion bond referendum on the ballot. Wednesday’s tour is the first of 10 for Alston and Cooke, who plan to look inside schools slated for improvements.
“It’s not a want. It’s a need for our kids, and that’s what we have to approach this as. This is something we have to do. We don’t have an option,” Alston said Wednesday. “We can’t allow the next generation of our students to be forced with the same learning environment as this generation has been forced to live with.”
Along with Southern Guilford High School, Page would be rebuilt if the bond passes.
“There’s water coming down walls, water dripping from pipes and those are things that not only our safety issues but send a message to our kids that it’s not a priority,” Cooke said after the tour wrapped.
Principal Erik Naglee showed commissioners a classroom with partitioned walls and no windows. While security cameras around the school work, he said the system is flawed.
“Sometimes you’ll lose two to three seconds, so you won’t see the full issue that you’re trying to look at. You can’t really piece it together like we need to,” he explained.
There are sections of the building that can’t be used due to air conditioning issues. Naglee said the auditorium wasn’t an option for parent events at the beginning of the year.
“It frustrates students. Students have friends at other schools. They see how some of these other schools look. They want to be a part of the best,” said David Rogers Jr., who has taught English at Page for about 22 years.
His classroom is located in a newer section of the school, but he said the cooling system doesn’t work as it should.
“It was hot. And when it is hot, my kids want to put their heads down. It’s very, very hard to learn with your head on the desk. I understand that your level of comfort is going to trump anything Mr. Rogers has to say,” he explained.
Rogers has seen the impact of past improvements on his students. He’s hopeful new construction will help keep kids in the classroom until they graduate.
“They see brand new facilities. They see brand new tile, just the bright colors in the school, it brings life. It brings life, and it brings energy to the kids into the whole building the whole community,” Rogers said.
County commissioners do have the option to put only a portion of the $1.7 billion request on the ballot.
Alston is cautiously optimistic for the full amount and that the measure will ultimately pass.