School officials, students, alumni break ground on Paisley/Lowrance

Photo by Tevin Stinson

School officials, students, alumni break ground on Paisley/Lowrance
September 28
03:00 2017

Local school officials, community leaders, current, and former students came together to break ground on the new John W. Paisley IB Magnet School and Annie L. Lowrance Middle School earlier this week.

The $47 million project that will bring the two schools together is part of the $350 million bond project approved by voters in 2016. The school, which is expected to be one of the biggest ever built in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools system is expected to be complete by fall of 2019.

Before digging up the ceremonial bright red dirt on the site where construction has already started, Dr. Gary Cone, principal at Paisley, thanked the voters for putting education first and voting “yes” on the bond project.

Numbers from the 2016 election show the bond project was approved by a majority voters in every precinct in the county.

“We are really excited about this. I want to thank everyone of you for sharing in this,” said Cone. “It means a lot to me, it means a lot to the students, it means a lot to the community.”

The new school will be located next to the original Paisley on Grant Avenue. For the students and staff at Lowrance, the new building will give them a permanent home for the first time since 2015. In February of that year, the school board voted to move Lowrance and Hanes Middle School, who shared a building on Indiana Avenue, because of groundwater contamination in the area. Although the water in the school was safe, concerns about ground vapors caused major issues with parents.

Since 2015, Lowrance, which provides services for students with disabilities, has shared space on the campus of Atkins High School on Old Greensboro Road, while Hanes was moved to the former site of Philo Middle School. During the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Peggy Dickey, principal at Lowrance, said it’s been a long time coming.

Dickey, who has spent most of her career in education at Lowrance, said that Dr. Cone and
Paisley alumni have already made them feel like a part of the Paisley family.

“This is huge for the students,” said Dickey. “Because of this project, Lowrance students will get a building that will meet their special needs and allow them access to developing peers in a state-of-the-art facility.”

“We at Lowrance are truly grateful for the time and effort that has been put in to make sure our needs will be met.”

Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory, and school board chairwoman Dana Caldwell-Jones, spoke during the ceremony as well. While standing in the spot where a new gymnasium will be, Dr. Emory said, “This is just the gateway to much more to come.

“We are excited about what that means for our students, staff and ultimately the goals we’re trying to achieve in academics, athletics, extracurricular, IB and all the other parts of school that create the fabric of growing students and nurturing them into graduates,” she said. “I believe out of every challenge or adversary something amazing happens, and we’re standing here on amazing right now.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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