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New Hanover Co. school board could ask voters for $284 million

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Voters in New Hanover County could face another decision on a bond referendum come November.
This time, it is the county schools that could be asking for as much as $284 million.

"Our growth is up. We are looking at repairs and renovations more so than new construction,” said school board chairman Don Hayes. “Because, you know, look at what's going on in Wrightsville Beach right now. We're having to lease space in a church."

New construction would be part of the measures.

The highest priority on the list is a new 600-student elementary school to serve the northeastern part of the county.

Also on the list are improvements to at least ten middle and elementary schools including:
Noble Middle School
Roland-Grise Middle School
Myrtle Grove Middle School
Trask Middle School
Wrightsville Beach Middle School
Alderman Elementary
Bellamy Elementary
Sunset Park Elementary
Bradley Creek Elementary

"There are many roof replacements that are needed, technology related things that were in there," said Hayes.

Hayes says the bond is about needs, not wants.

"There's no fluff there. It's necessities," said Hayes.

Even at a time when many voters are skeptical of government spending, Hayes thinks the school board's record will win over voters.

"We have always, to a letter, done exactly what we said we were going to do. Our projects have always come in on budget or under budget."

Hayes hopes the past will be a sign of the future.

"We've never had a bond that didn't pass,” said Hayes.

The next step is for the board to finalize its recommendations at a work session at the end of this month.

It will then take part in joint work sessions with the county commission to decide the final number to present to voters.

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