Board: Replace Ashley HVAC units

Board: Replace Ashley HVAC units
May 03
05:00 2018

Questions about replacing the aging school linger

One week after Mid-Atlantic Associates released an air quality report on the conditions at Ashley Academy for Cultural & Global Studies, the Board of Education voted to replace all HVAC units at the school before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Following the school board meeting last Tuesday, April 24, school officials met with staff and parents from Ashley to get feedback on a short-term solution to the mold found on several HVAC units at the school. During the special called meeting earlier this week on Tuesday, May 1, assistant superintendent Darrell Walker and chief operations officer Wayne Loflin discussed the timeline to replace the units, and cost. 

According to Loflin, the cost to replace all the HVAC units in the main or 100 building, and to add dehumidification to the 200 building, and classrooms would cost just over $1.38 million.

“The main building would receive units within the classrooms. It will also receive a new unit that will serve the media center, the office and the guidance area,” Loflin said.

An additional $200,000 was included in the total cost for improvements to the roof. Loflin mentioned parts of the roof are nearly 25 years old. Although it hasn’t been accessed yet, Loflin said he expects major repairs will be needed.

When discussing the timetable for replacing the HVAC units, Walker said the plan is to start at the end of the school year and to be finished by Aug. 12, before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Walker mentioned ordering the units would probably take four to five weeks.

“The game plan around timeline is to try to be finished around the 12th of August,” Walker said. “The big part right now is to get through the engineering process and make sure there is enough inventories out there to handle our need.”

Until the end of the school year, faculty, staff, and students at Ashley will have to rely on industrial air scrubbers, which will serve as an air filtration system for the outdated HVAC units currently at the school.

While it seems the board has found a short-term solution to the problems at Ashley, the meeting couldn’t end without discussing replacing the school entirely.

Located in the heart of East Winston, Ashley is one of the oldest schools in the district. Although plans for a new school were included in the 2016 Bond Proposal, funds won’t allow for construction to begin any sooner than 2024, with the school being completed in 2027.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, longtime educator Al Harvey proposed Ashley be rebuilt on the former site of 14th Street School, on the corner of 14th  Street and Cameron Avenue. He asked if the kids from Lowrance can be “fast-tracked” to a new building, why can’t the kids from Ashley?

“I would like for this board to do the right thing about the kids from Ashley. It seems as though we’re doing two different things for two different groups and you’re here to serve all the students of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County,” Harvey continued. “I believe all kids can learn when given the proper tools and encouragement. We have to put our kids in the right positions to learn.”

Board member Deanna Taylor also raised concerns with the need for the school to be replaced as well. Before voting to approve action to be taken at Ashley, Taylor said although she supports repairs being made as a short-term solution, Ashley is a really old school.

She said, “To hear the possibility of a new school in 2024 really, really bothers me. That just doesn’t sit well with me. There’s going to come a time where we’re going to have to sit down and have real discussion about going ahead and building a new school or relocating Ashley.”


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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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