The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Board of Education on Tuesday approved designs that include a new gym, administrative offices and classrooms at Wiley Middle School.
The vote follows a well-attended public drop-in session last month at the school to give the community a chance to see the designs and ask questions.
The 21,000-square foot addition to Wiley with two levels, which was approved by voters in a 2016 bond request, will attach to the existing school building.
It has a project budget of $9.3 million. Construction is expected to start about August 2020, and students, teachers and staff should be able to occupy the addition in spring 2022.
One existing classroom will be eliminated, but Wiley will have a net gain of six classrooms. Three areas within the school will be renovated and turned into three classrooms.
The project, which is going on a tight site, will provide the school with a new entrance. People will basically be able to cross Northwest Boulevard and walk into the front door of the school at the new office/administrative area.
During last month’s public drop-in session, the Wiley addition drawings referenced the drawings developed by Home Field Advantage for a stadium it wants built at nearby Reynolds High School.
Colon Moore, the director of construction planning and operations for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said back then that the addition was designed so that it would not interfere with the design of the stadium.
Now that the Wiley project is moving forward, will this help the stadium project?
Home Field Advantage has raised more than $1 million to build a stadium at Reynolds High. The current memorandum of understanding between the school system and Home Field Advantage notes that the group would privately pay for the whole stadium.
Proponents of the stadium have said that students and families often cannot attend games or have to find transportation, among other things, because Reynolds does not have an onsite stadium.
There is also a coalition of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County citizens that say they are in favor of Wiley getting a gym, but they are opposed to the stadium.
The Reynolds stadium was not on the agenda, but several people brought the project up, even if not by name, as they commented on the Wiley addition.
Julie Magness spoke of how a large portion of the nearby Hanes Park is in the 100-year floodplain.
“We already know that all of the ball parks down there, the walking trails, the baseball trails, the tennis courts have been under water,” Magness said. “The potential impact for building a stadium in this area might end up being very detrimental to what we already have down there at the Wiley school.”
She said that the gym addition is being pushed up close to the street to “potentially accommodate the stadium down the road.”
Anna Goodman said that the board is considering a design for the Wiley addition that has been drawn to make space for a project that does not have all the funds needed and might not be built.
“Before we make compromises in the design of Wiley gym, we do need to examine that other project and find out if it’s even viable,” Goodman said.
She added that the addition is much closer than necessary to Northwest Boulevard.
“It will eliminate the school’s side yard and seriously limit safe pedestrian routes for students at drop-off and pick-up times,” Goodman said.
In an interview, Moore said Tuesday that the Wiley addition will be constructed because the school needs a new gym.
“We are recognizing there’s a stadium in the discussion, so our layout allows for a stadium to still be constructed,” Moore said.