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The Daily Tar Heel

Locals Don't Want School at Old Lystra

Proposed high school could bring traffic

Residents of the Old Lystra Road area expressed their concerns at a Monday meeting about potential noise issues from the high school's marching band and increased road usage, problems stemming from traffic caused by teenagers driving to and from school and the proximity of the school's athletic fields.

Joseph Jones, who lives on Mount Carmel Church Road, attended the meeting to demonstrate his opposition to the site.

He said he and many others in the community are retired and settled there for their neighborhood for its peacefulness.

"(It's a) peaceful, quiet area, and all of a sudden it's going to be destroyed," Jones said.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education approved this site Nov. 24 as its first choice option for the high school, naming one on Rock Haven Road as a backup.

Another site under consideration for the school is located at Eubanks Road and N.C. 86.

Gloria Faley, vice chairwoman of the school board, said the board chose the Old Lystra site because it is on the southern end of the district, near Southern Village.

Predictions show that many students approaching high school age in 2005-08 will be from the south.

"They are two very different sites," she said regarding the Old Lystra and Rock Haven Road sites. "Neither is a perfect site."

Jones said his primary concerns about the site are noise and traffic, pointing out that residents' homes would be close enough to the school to see the glaring lights from an athletic field and hear the marching band playing.

"Traffic is terrible," he said.

"In my opinion, there are going to be deaths. Old Lystra is a windy, long road."

Shari Smith, a resident of Old Lystra Road, said she is not bothered by issues of traffic or noise.

"I think it'd be all right," she said. "Having (a high school) close is the main thing."

Smith said she supports the idea of having her children attend a high school so close to her house.

"I would like another high school for my child to go to," she said. "The other high schools are all the way across town."

Some residents cited the size of the Old Lystra Road site as a problem because it is smaller than the other two.

The Rock Haven Road site has 40 acres of usable land, and the Eubanks site has 44 acres of usable land, while the Old Lystra site has just 35 acres of usable land on about 49 total acres.

Faley said the Old Lystra site would serve not only as a high school but also as a community center for the southern end of Chapel Hill, much like the other two high schools do for their respective areas.

But she said while some residents are concerned the new high school will be the same as the other two, that is not the case.

"It is a very compressed building," Faley said. "We're not just (building) a replica."

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