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Edneyville school comes with a bonus

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Edneyville is getting a new school that will serve not only grammar school kids but the entire community. Architects on Monday unveiled a design that includes a high school-sized gym that can accommodate community recreation needs as well as the regular phys-ed programs.
Construction is set to begin in March with a completion date of Aug. 1, 2019.
The goal of the design by the county architects Clark Nexsen was to create a 21st century learning environment, preserve the rural character of the school, capitalize on outdoor activities and maintain a strong relationship with the community, yields a two-story structure with an arc in the middle that allows for a complete view of the surrounding land and mountains. Architects kept the view in mind when designing the building’s orientation.
The first floor of the building will contain administrative offices, the multi-purpose gymnasium and the kindergarten and first grade classrooms while the second floor will include second, third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms.
The multi-purpose gymnasium will be 1,500 square feet larger than the average elementary school gymnasium, architect Chad Roberson said. The space will have its own entrance, so it can be utilized by the community during weekends when the school is closed.
“The new gym will be a big plus for Henderson County recreation on weekends,” said Commissioner Charlie Messer.
The site also includes rain gardens, an outdoor amphitheater, a playground, a butterfly garden, an upper and lower terrace, an outdoor dining area and an outdoor art space and reading space. It could also have an outdoor basketball court and a baseball field.
The internal structure will allow natural light to enter and will offer many open spaces for teachers to talk with students individually. Cars will reach drop-off and pick-up sites off Pace Road, while delivery trucks use a service road from U.S. 64.
When the new building opens for the 2019 school year, contractors will demolish the old school, causing a temporary rerouting of traffic until the site is cleared.
Parents, teachers and students have praised the school. During an initial community meeting at the start of the project, 30-40 teachers and administrators met with architects to discuss school design and innovation. Commissioners on Monday unanimously endorsed the design and gave the go-ahead for construction.
Sewer service for the project added a big capital expense.
Commissioners looked at an on-site drip-irrigation system, a discharge system and a pump station or gravity sewer line to Hendersonville as options. They’re leaning toward the gravity sewer line but plan to look at how to pay for it. Even though that option was the most expensive — at $4.5 million plus and $19,000 in annual user fees — it remains the most reliable option for the long term, engineers said. The line from Edneyville would run next to Clear Creek and a tributary. It would be maintained by the county or the city utility system. It would delay the school’s opening by one year because it takes longer to install and needs acquisition of easements by nearby landowners. The new school can still open on time if it continues to use the current septic system until the sewer line is done. WGLA Engineering recommended the gravity sewer, agreeing that in the long-run it would require less maintenance.
The county had allocated just $500,000 for the sewer system. The additional cost could be offset by a potential $1 million grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce and possible contributions from the city of Hendersonville and the WNC Justice Academy. Commissioners agreed to further discuss funding options for the sewer line next month.