Thursday, September 4, 2003 – CVCC/Alexander Center


PRESENT: W. Darrell Robertson, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Joel C. Harbinson, Commissioner
W. Norris Keever, Commissioner
Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
EDUCATION: Craig Mayberry, Chairman
Dale Clary, Board Member
Scott Ferguson, Board Member
Dr. Josephine Foster, Board Member
Jack Hoke, Superintendent
Jim Lowe, Board Member
Sharon MeHaffey, Finance Officer
Dr. Barry Redmond, Associate Superintendent
Ronnie Reese, Board Member
Dale Robertson, Facilities Director
TAYLORSVILLE: Bob Phillips, Town Commissioner
Ronnie Robinette, Town Commissioner
Aaron White, Representative for David Odom 
MEDIA: Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times


A joint meeting was held between the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, the Alexander County Board of Education, and the Town of Taylorsville Board of Commissioners on Thursday, September 4, 2003 in the CVCC/Alexander Center Multipurpose Room.


Alexander Chairman Darrell Robertson called the meeting to order at 6:00PM. 


Alexander Chairman Robertson explained that this meeting was an opportunity for each board to get together to discuss problems and issues and to allow for better communication.

Jack Hoke, Superintendent, stated that the School System and student achievement had been the best ever this past year.  Mr. Hoke also noted that Alexander County had the lowest number of mobile units being used in this area and he presented the following corresponding information:

School Districts           Schools           Students          Mobiles          Mobiles/1,000 students

Iredell-Statesville              32                     19,400                 138                            7.11

Burke County                    26                     14,600                   45                            3.08

Catawba County               25                     16,739                   46                            2.75

Hickory                               9                       4,400                   12                            2.73

Caldwell County               25                      12,700                   29                            2.28

Alexander County             10                       5,450                     6                            1.10


Jack Hoke, Superintendent, discussed the Alexander County Board of Education Long Range Facility Plan Proposal, which included information regarding past projects (Alexander Central High School, Ellendale Elementary School, the Central Office, Central Park, Stony Point Elementary School, Sugar Loaf Elementary School, and Taylorsville Elementary School), current projects (East and West Alexander Middle Schools), and future projects.  The future projects included plans for a performing arts auditorium and a field house at Alexander Central High School, in which a project proposal was presented.

Mr. Hoke stated that an auditorium could be used for daily school classes for as band, chorus, and drama as well as for concerts and plays and he noted that the auditorium could also be used by civic clubs and other organizations.  Mr. Hoke stated that Alexander County citizens often traveled to other counties for events and performances and he therefore felt that an auditorium would benefit the county economically by keeping citizens within the county.  Mr. Hoke explained that the proposed auditorium would include 1,000 seats, which would seat over half of the student body, and he noted that the project would cost $3,030,200.

Mr. Hoke also discussed the proposed field house, which would include locker rooms and space for football, soccer, and track on the bottom level.  The top level would include concessions and restrooms as well as a 997 square foot classroom for ROTC.   Mr. Hoke stated that this project would cost $696,000.

Dr. Barry Redmond, Associate Superintendent, and Sharon MeHaffey, Finance Officer, distributed site plans and drawings prepared by Orkan Architecture, P.A.  Mr. Hoke explained that the auditorium would be located where the faculty parking is currently located and the field house would be located at the far end of the football field closest to Liledoun Road.  Mr. Hoke explained that faculty parking would be relocated and a new parking lot would be completed at the far corner next to the school entrance on Liledoun Road.  Mr. Hoke also noted that bus parking would be relocated behind the proposed auditorium. 

Mr. Hoke felt that this was the appropriate time to move forward with these projects since the need for classrooms had already been addressed.  Mr. Hoke felt that this would greatly benefit the School System, County, and Town and would also be a great opportunity for each entity to work together on a significant project.

Commissioner Harbinson inquired about what renovations were done at Taylorsville Elementary School and the costs associated with that project.  Mr. Hoke replied that the gym was upgraded including new bleachers and windows.  Mr. Hoke also stated that Head Start had been relocated and he noted that the mobile units would be moved from Taylorsville Elementary School in the spring.

Dale Clary, Board of Education Member, explained that the reason the projected cost of renovations to Taylorsville Elementary School was higher than what was actually spent was because the cost actually included the MGT Report’s proposal to move the 9th grade to Taylorsville Elementary, which was not done.

Commissioner Harbinson expressed his concerns with Sugar Loaf, Taylorsville, and Stony Point Elementary Schools gyms not being air-conditioned.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had received several complaints in the past and he asked if the Board of Education had considered addressing this issue.  Mr. Hoke replied that the Board of Education had, in fact, looked into addressing the air-conditioning problem in the gyms and he noted that the problem could be addressed within the school system, which would not require additional funding from the County or from half-cent sales taxes.

Commissioner Harbinson asked Mr. Hoke if the auditorium and the field house could be paid for with half-cent sales tax monies.  Mr. Hoke replied that the projects could be funded with half-cent sales tax monies.  However, Mr. Hoke suggested that the cost be divided equally between the School System, the County, and the Town.

Commissioner Harbinson inquired about how the auditorium and field house projects would tie up use of sales tax monies for future school projects.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that he did not want to jeopardize the possibility of construction of classrooms or additional schools by moving forward with the auditorium and field house.  Mr. Hoke replied that the Board of Education did not see that these projects would affect future school projects.  Mr. Hoke also stated that the “details” had not been discussed and he noted that this meeting was simply to allow the Board of Education to provide information regarding the project for each board to determine if there was an interest in partnering with the School System.

Alexander Chairman Robertson reiterated that the purpose of this meeting was for general conversation and to determine if there was an interest in the projects at this time.   Chairman Robertson noted that each board would separately discuss the projects further and details would then be worked out.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he understood; however, he felt that classrooms and schools were more important than an auditorium and a field house.  Commissioner Harbinson asked the Board of Education when a Drumstand Elementary School would be needed.  Mr. Hoke replied that another school would not be needed until 2010.  Mr. Hoke stated that the ACHS project would be paid off then.  Commissioner Harbinson inquired about the timeframe for a new high school.  Mr. Hoke replied that a new high school, costing approximately $26 million, would not be needed for another 15 years.

Commissioner Keever felt that now was the best time to consider this project, especially since construction was picking up nationwide, which would increase construction costs.

Commissioner Hammer stated that Wittenburg and Ellendale Elementary Schools were built with a 600-student infrastructure to provide more room for students as needed, which would delay the need for another elementary school.  Mr. Hoke agreed and stated that there were only 435 students at Wittenburg and 350 students at Ellendale.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if the Board of Education had an updated project plan for the next 5 or 10 years.  Craig Mayberry, Board of Education Chairman, replied that the Board was working on that and he noted that the auditorium was part of that plan. 

Mr. Clary stated that the Board of Education had followed the Blue Ribbon Committee’s plan and had actually pushed the auditorium and field house projects back due to the need for additional classroom space.  Mr. Hoke noted that the need for classrooms would not need to be addressed again until 2010.

Commissioner Harbinson asked the Board of Education members if there was a need for another Blue Ribbon Committee or they felt that the past committee’s recommendations could be “tweaked” for future plans.  Mr. Mayberry replied that he felt the Board of Education was capable of handling future projects and there would not be a need for establishing another Blue Ribbon Committee.   Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would feel much better about these projects if the Board of Education told him what exactly projects they were looking at, their projections for sales tax, etc.

Dr. Josephine Foster, Board of Education Member, stated that there was absolutely no way to project the exact need.  Dr. Foster stated that it depended on how many people relocated here, who built new homes here, and the number of students being home schooled.  Dr. Foster noted that more children might be home schooled in the future due to the rapid advancements in technology.  Dr. Foster also stated that the Board of Education could possibly tell the Board of Commissioners their prediction if the Board of Commissioners could give them a projection for growth in the county.

Scott Ferguson, Board of Education Member, felt that the next 7 years had been laid out fairly well in the Long Range Facility Plan as far as projects and construction.  Mr. Ferguson agreed with Dr. Foster’s regarding home schooling.  Mr. Hoke noted that there were currently approved home schools the present time.

Alexander Chairman Robertson felt that the auditorium would generate a positive impact for the School System, County, and Town.  Chairman Robertson stated that an auditorium would give students and adults the opportunity to enjoy events, concerts, etc. in the county instead of having to drive outside of the county.  Chairman Robertson also felt that an auditorium would provide a great economic benefit to the area.

Bob Phillips, Town of Taylorsville Commissioner, stated that he was constantly hearing about the need for an indoor swimming pool and he suggested incorporating such a project with another to reduce costs.  Mr. Hoke stated that he had also received comments regarding a pool and he noted that Orkan Architecture could construct a new pool for approximately $800,000.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if the seats in the auditorium would be removable to allow for events such as dinner theatres.  Mr. Hoke replied that the seats would not be removable.  Commissioner Harbinson mentioned that he was aware that the school system had an agreement to use First Baptist Church, which seated 600 people, for concerts and events.  Commissioner Harbinson suggested continuing that agreement if it was reasonably priced to allow the funding for the auditorium and field house projects to be used for classrooms as needed.  Mr. Clary stated that 600 seats were not near enough seating for parents attending a chorus concert.   Ronnie Reese, Board of Education Member, also noted that parking at the church was not adequate.

Commissioner Harbinson felt that the proposed auditorium, if constructed, would not be big enough if constructed with 1,000 seats, especially for a graduation ceremony, and he felt that a 2,000-seat auditorium would be needed.  Commissioner Harbinson also felt that an auditorium and field house would not be the best use of available funding, especially since parking would still be an issue.

Commissioner Keever stated that he hoped that each board found a way to participate since the auditorium was something that had been needed for over 10 years.  Commissioner Keever felt that now was the best time for this project and he noted that he would support it.

Commissioner Hammer asked if the Board of Education had considered placing the bus parking below the greenhouses.  Mr. Hoke replied that option had been discussed but was eliminated because it would be much more expensive due to the significant drop-off next to the greenhouses.

Chairman Robertson noted that additional parking could be placed in the woods near the proposed field house in the future if needed.

Mr. Ferguson stated that he appreciated Commissioner Harbinson’s concerns for classrooms; however, he noted that additional classrooms would not be needed until 2010.   Mr. Ferguson mentioned that the more support received from each entity, the less money would be required to be tied up with the School System. 

Alexander Chairman Robertson suggested that Mr. Hoke, County Manager Rick French, and Town Manager David Odom meet to exchange information and ideas on the proposal to later discuss with each full board.  Chairman Robertson suggested holding some work sessions at a later date to allow for more discussion regarding the proposal.


Commissioner Hammer thanked the Board of Education for preparing the proposal for the auditorium and field house.  Commissioner Hammer felt that the projects were indeed workable.

Mr. Clary stated that he, as well as the entire Board of Education, was proud of what projects had been accomplished.  Mr. Clary stated that a recent visitor to the county had commented on the many projects that had been completed.  Mr. Clary noted that he informed the visitor that it was due to teamwork between the Board of Education, County Board of Commissioners, and Town Board of Commissioners that got the projects completed.

Alexander Chairman Robertson conveyed his appreciation to all those in attendance at the meeting.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:58 PM.


Respectfully Submitted,



Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board