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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill High School proposing renovation plans for school buildings

Chapel Hill High School’s proposed plans to remodel include two entirely new academic school buildings.

Chapel Hill High School’s proposed plans to remodel include two entirely new academic school buildings.

The plan will also allow for renovations of the Hanes Theatre and athletic building. The renovated buildings will connect to the new buildings.

“It’ll be a safer campus because students won’t go from building to building outside,” said Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokesperson Jeff Nash. “Everything connects once you’re inside — it’s a neat thing.”

The new building will include a courtyard with possible educational teaching and water areas.

Bill Mullin, executive director of school facilities for CHCCS, said engineers are also addressing stormwater runoff while allowing water flow in an outside area.

“We asked them in the next project plan to be respectful of water and to work with our staff on parking,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger. “We want to make sure its design avoids issues in the future.”

Mullin said the proposed traffic plan will improve as students arrive through High School Road, which will have three points of access for entry and exit.

Kay Pearlstein, a senior planner for the Town of Chapel Hill, said the town’s traffic consultant is planning a traffic impact analysis.

“Once that has been completed, we will better know the traffic impacts of the proposal,” she said.

Mullin said the school’s student capacity will increase by between 100 to 250 students in the new plans. He said the total surface area will decrease by 7,000 square feet and will eliminate certain roads.

The school board gave a $72 million bond to pay for the project and several others in the area, and they will use about $47 million of it to fund the Chapel Hill High School renovations, Mullin said.

Hemminger said they heard from citizens that the current academic building has major issues with mold and design.

Mullin said from the suggestions produced by the student-teacher committee, they want to incorporate break-out areas for students to hook their laptops to a screen to work on a project together.

A committee of students and teachers partnered with architects over the last year to discuss what they hoped to see in the new building.

The process to develop the finalized project plans will take nine to 10 months as the plans go through the different boards before construction can begin. Construction itself will take around two years and will hopefully be finished in 2020.

“There is general excitement about the project,” Nash said. “It’s gonna be messy, but they have the prize in mind of an amazing teaching and learning structure.”

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