HALIFAX COUNTY (WSLS 10) – “Right when you walk in, you see the carpet [is] just worn out,” said Halifax County Public Schools’ facilities director Jay Jennings as he walked out of main the office inside the school.
Halifax County High School is in need of work, a lot of work.
Jennings said the school has pretty much reached the end of its life. “Everything’s very old,” he pointed out.
The school was built in 1979 and aside from the carpet being worn and in need of replacing throughout the building, the paint is chipping away from hand rails. Jennings even believes the main doors at the front of the school pose a safety concern.
“They’re just so worn out from being used so much every day that we have trouble with the locking mechanisms,” he explained.
He is also concerned about the aging boilers, water heaters and piping, most of which is original to the school and inefficient.
But, perhaps one of the biggest problems is that the school is not ADA compliant.
The school has had to install expensive lifts for students in wheelchairs to go between the first and second floors because the ramps that lead from one floor to the other are too steep.
Principal Michael Lewis said he understands that building a new high school would be expensive and burdensome on tax payers, but he says a new high school would improve the quality of education.
“Bring in new technology that’s more difficult with an old building and renovating,” said Lewis. “If you build a new building, you can put in what technology you think you need to meet this era.”
He says classrooms could also expand and the old desks and chairs could be replaced with ones that are more comfortable for students.
Even so, county supervisors are still up in the air about what to do.
A feasibility study is being conducted to determine what options the county has.
Jennings said an estimate last year determined that it would cost $44 million to build the current high school again, meaning a newer, modern high school will likely be much more.