Forsyth Tech at airport among bond proposals

Transforming the site of the old Sheriff’s Office building on Third Street into the new home of a merged SciWorks and Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem could be one of several bonds on the November ballot.

Forsyth Tech at airport among bond proposals
May 26
07:30 2016

Photo by Todd Luck



A Forsyth Tech aviation center at the Smith Reynolds Airport, SciWorks relocating downtown, and a new or renovated courthouse were among the bond possibilities Forsyth County commissioners heard on Thursday, May 19.

The County Commissioners are considering which proposals they will add to the November ballot as bond referendums, which would ask taxpayers if they want to pay higher taxes to fund them. The commissioners also have the option of paying for them with limited liability bonds, in which the county takes on debt without voter approval. Commissioners have to pass a resolution by June 13 for the bonds they want on the ballot.

Forsyth Technical Community College President Dr. Gary Green presented a $65 million bond request. This includes hanger and classroom space at Smith Reynolds Airport, located off Liberty Street, for a new program that will prepare students to work on the mechanical structure of air-planes. He said this can provide skilled, FAA-certified employees that local aviation companies at the airport need.

“This is a valuable project for economic development in our community,” said Green.

Among the other Forsyth Tech projects is renovations at the Oak Gove Center – a building formerly used as the school system’s Career Center – that includes more classrooms, a 3-D printing center and other improvements. The college also wants to build a new learning commons building that will contain a new library, which Green said is needed for the school to continue to be accredited. The money would also be used to expand the college’s Transportation Technology Center on Patterson Avenue.

SciWorks Director Paul Kortenaar presented a $20 million bond request that would build a new museum at the site of the former Sheriff’s Office on Third Street. SciWorks, a children’s science museum located on West Hanes Mill Road, is merging with the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, currently located on downtown Liberty Street. He said, along with a new, more diverse board, the two merged museums want a new location at the site of the former Sheriff’s Office. He said the museums will be doing their own $10 million capital campaign for exhibits.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools asked for a $350 million bond that will deal with aging buildings and technology, along with having enough classrooms to accommodate the growing student body. It will pay for two new middle schools, four replacements schools, additions to four schools and renovations at four others. It also includes numerous other capital improvements and new technology at every school.

County Commissioner Everette Witherspoon said he felt the county owed the school system the bond, since it has lower per pupil spending than other urban counties like Guilford.

“We’ve short changed education,” he said.

The commissioners heard possibilities on potential renovations at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice to deal with space and repair needs. The most expensive possibility was building a new courthouse for $145 million on Second Street, which included a parking deck and walkway to the neighboring Forsyth County Detention Center. There was a $142 million option for a new courthouse to be built on the parking lot of the current one and the site of the Piedmont Federal building next door. There’s also a $112 million option that would add on to the current structure building a new tower for courtrooms in the current parking lot while using the old building for office space.

The commissioners also heard a proposal for $10 million for 15 capital projects at the County’s park, mostly concentrated at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, and heard about $6.54 million in other capital needs that includes repairs at the detention center and to local libraries.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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