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School Board gets first look at HHS expansion plans

One option architects presented would add a two-story classroom building on the current campus between the school building and cafeteria. One option architects presented would add a two-story classroom building on the current campus between the school building and cafeteria.

MILLS RIVER — Hendersonville High School, Balfour High School and Edneyville and Upward elementary schools are the top priorities for additions and renovation.

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Hendersonville High School is expected to make use of the Boyd Chevrolet property when the dealership moves to Spartanburg Highway in late 2013 or early 2014. But using any of the existing buildings on the Boyd property was not an option presented by Mosley Architects and was categorically dismissed by HHS principal Bobby Wilkins.
"Mr. Jones and I went into those buildings and, saying as little as I can say, we can't use those buildings," Wilkins said.
Instead, architect James D. "Jimmy" Wilhide Jr. sketched out a proposal to alleviate overcrowding at the county's oldest high school by adding a new two-story classroom building to the campus. Plans showed a baseball field and additional parking on the Boyd site. The School Board is expected to ask the city to close Ninth Avenue when it takes over the Boyd property.
The schools superintendent, School Board chairman and HHS principal all downplayed the baseball field idea.
"I have to say, that's the first time I've seen that," Wilkins said. Bigger classrooms and room for growth are far higher priorities for HHS, he said.
"You saw how small the rooms are," he said. "That's the key, that and getting a library we can use."
Wherever it might go, a new building at HHS is a longer range plan. School Board members made a commitment when the Board of Commissioners bought the Boyd property that it would hold off for five years asking for construction money.
Board chairman Ervin Bazzle said he, too, was blindsided by the sketch of a baseball field on the Boyd property.
"We're wide open to anything," he said. "I'm not sure what kind of response that might get."
Wilhide, the architect who presented the plans, said he added the baseball field to show use of the property as some kind of sports facility. Hendersonville High School now plays at "the Den," a baseball diamond in Green Meadows, although Hendersonville City Councilman Jerry Smith, an HHS history and civics teacher, suggested last month that the team could play some games at the city-owned Berkeley Park.
The proposed plans for HHS and three other school buildings were the main focus in a review of facilities as the School Board, central office administrators and school principals kicked off a two-day planning retreat at the Mills River Academy, the former elementary school building now used for meetings and training. The retreat will continue Saturday morning.
The Moseley architects offered an option 1, a new building on the 3-acre Boyd property with a large media center and classroom space for art, chorus and drama, and an option 2, a new classroom building on the existing campus between the main school and the cafeteria. The school's sundial, a lunchtime gathering spot and school symbol for generations of HHS students, is on that site. It would be moved in a way that respects the school's tradition and the alumni's ties to the school campus, administrators said.
The board also looked at plans for additional classrooms or renovations at Edneyville, Upward and Balfour. It made no commitment on any of them.
Superintendent David Jones emphasized that the plans are tentative. None had cost projections attached.
The board also discussed a proposal from board member Rick Wood to institute an incentive payment for perfect attendance by teachers. Wood suggested the $100 bonus at the end of school year for teachers
"It would help encourage teachers to be in the classroom but might have the potential to save us money," he said. "If we had 26 that would be $2,600. I think at the very least we would come out ahead moneywise."
Principals said they didn't think the promise of a $100 check in June would be incentive enough to make a teacher forgo a personal day.
Female teachers, board member Mary Louise Corn said, "would not be as likely to benefit from this" because "even in our wonderful world of equality" it's always the mother who stays home with a sick baby.