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The Daily Tar Heel

School Board Passes Budget Plan

The capital improvement plan will allocate money to building new schools and renovating older buildings.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board officials decided to send the proposed 2001-2011 Capital Investment Plan to the Orange County Board of Commissioners after reviewing the 49-page plan Wednesday night.

Schools spokeswoman Kim Hoke said the CIP -- which asks for more than $51 million in funded and $64 million in unfunded capital projects-- likely will be put to a referendum if it is approved by the commissioners.

"The CIP will be considered for a bond proposal this coming November where it will be up to voters to decide which project will be funded."

Hoke said the CIP will aid in completing and continuing needed renovations and construction projects at system schools. "The funded projects consist of basic maintenance needs in the schools such as roofing, heating and air conditioning systems," Hoke said. "The unfunded projects include the construction of two new elementary schools, an expansion within a high school and a new administration facility."

Board member Maryanne Rosenman said the unfunded projects are more pressing because of an increase in the district's population. "Our top priority is to have two elementary schools built within three years and to increase the capacity level in our high schools," she said.

Elementary school No. 9 is proposed to be built in Meadowmont and elementary school No. 10 is proposed to be built in Calvander, an area north of Carrboro. The estimated costs of the two elementary schools have already been determined, Hoke said.

"The two elementary schools will cost $13 (million) to $14 million each," she said.

School board member Nick Didow said the CIP would give the district's two high schools -- Chapel Hill High School and East Chapel Hill High School -- the capability to expand their capacities. "The additional capacity to the two high schools should hold an additional 1,000 students," he said.

Other important unfunded items included in the CIP are the renovation of some of the district's older schools, such as Grey Culbreth Middle School. Didow said the cost of renovating the older schools could total up to $8 million. "The upgrade within the older schools in our system includes health and safety, and conservation and energy improvements," Didow said.

Didow also said Lincoln Center, the central office in which the school board holds its meetings, could stand some improvement.

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