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In a split vote, the Henderson County School Board recommended to the county commissioners that they move forward with a construction option that preserves the 1926 Hendersonville High School as a classroom building.

After a long discussion, the board voted 4-3 for the architect’s option 2, which would keep HHS as a classroom building while replacing the two gyms and other buildings on the campus.
The three board members who favored no on option 2 favored option 3, building a totally new HHS on the county-owned Boyd property just north of the current campus.

Rick Wood, Amy Holt and Mary Louise Corn voted for the option that preserves HHS for the use that it has served since 1926.It would be a costly and time-consuming renovation, architect Chad Roberson has told the School Board and commissioners. It's the option that was mostly strongly favored by faculty and by HHS alumni who made their feelings known at a meeting last week.

Those in favor of a new school said that cost, safety and the welfare of the students were more important, arguing that the construction of a new school on adjoining property would be less disruptive. Voting for the new school option were Colby Coren, Lisa Edwards and Josh Houston. Board Chair Ervin Bazzle broke the tie, voting for the option that the county's architect says would take 47 months and require a move to a modular village but preserve the use of a gym throughout the four-year project.

Coren argued that while HHS teachers and alumni has talked a lot about tradition, "We have not heard that these traditions will die with the building. We need to look at the next 100 years and not dwell on the last 100.”

A teacher and coach in Henderson County schools for more than 20 years, Wood said he had never appreciated the breadth of HHS's tradition until the building debate.

"I knew Hendersonville had a lot of tradition," he said. "I know even more about that now. I didn’t realize until I went to the alumni group and the Hall of Fame how important that 1926 building was to that tradition. I know that now.”

Holt said she once asked an Edneyville High School graduate where she had gone to high school.

“It’s not there anymore," her friend said. "They built a new school called North but that’s not my school."

“That has stuck with me for 18 years,” said Holt, whose children attended HHS.

Board members made reference to the Edneyville High School decision several times as an example of what to avoid in the HHS decision. Even so, Coren, Edwards and Houston argued that for cost and safety reasons building a new HHS across Ninth Avenue from the Bearcat gym is the best way. That clearly is the least disruptive option in terms of moving students to and from a temporary modular village, which the renovation options require.

Option 2 (renovation) would cost $52.6 million and take four years while option 3 (new construction) would cost $50.4 million and take 32 months.