On April 13, CHCCS Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese spoke to the Chapel Hill Town Council about building needs and planned construction to the schools. Comments from the council were forwarded to the Orange County Board of Commissioners later that week.
“It’s to point out, and to remind the commissioners, that we have significant financial needs in our older schools,” LoFrese said.
The district recently completed a study on its 10 oldest schools — buildings that range from at least 40 to more than 60 years old — to develop plans to fix the schools’ infrastructure and increase capacity.
“Many of our oldest schools are also our smallest schools,” LoFrese said.
He said the plan recommends adding capacity to existing schools by adding on to the existing buildings rather than building new schools.
“If we’re able to implement this plan, we can create almost an entire elementary school within our existing elementary schools,” he said.
This way, he said, the district would not need to build a new elementary school for at least 20 years, and another middle school for at least 18.
LoFrese said while pre-K students are not counted in enrollment and capacity measurements, there are 21 pre-K classrooms in the existing elementary schools. The plan recommends creating a pre-K center at the Lincoln Center, where the CHCCS central office is located, to free up space at those schools.