Public input phase continues for Transylvania school facilities

Press release from Transylvania County Schools: 

Transylvania County residents have another chance, on March 20 at Rosman Elementary School, to address the Board of Education about the facilities needs and master plan for Transylvania County Schools.

The Board’s regularly scheduled meeting begins Monday night at 6:30, with a one-hour discussion on the findings of the board’s facilities master plan. All interested members of the public are invited and encouraged to share input in the form of comments or questions.

Transylvania County Schools has a long history of being a state leader in education, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff McDaris during the first input session on March 6 at Brevard High School.

Pioneering steps include being the first school system west of Raleigh to adopt a longer, modern school calendar, integrating both schools and athletic teams, and becoming the first high school recognized as a N.C. School of Excellence.

“Providing quality buildings that help enhance a student’s education is part of maintaining that tradition of educational leadership,” added Dr. McDaris. Repairs and new construction will improve student learning by making schools more inviting, enhancing safety, and creating spaces designed for collaborative activities, the arts, and science and technology.

The majority of buildings in the school system have been in service for over 40 years, some approaching 60-70 years old. Maintenance and construction were last addressed by a $24 million school bond approved by voters in November 1997.

To kick off the master plan process, explore the refurbishment or replacement of aging facilities, and address the evolving needs of students in the 21st century, the Board of Education commissioned reports in 2014 and 2015 from Clark Nexsen Architecture and Engineering (click here), and the Operations Research and Education Laboratory (OREd)/Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University (click here).

Based on the findings, McDaris said the Board of Education is seeking to maximize the benefits for students while keeping costs low to minimize the impact for taxpayers. Reports place the cost of completing all needed construction and repairs at $118 million, while the district is designing capital projects around a request of roughly $95 million.

The escalation in construction cost over time is raising the stakes for Transylvania County Schools to begin much-needed work.

According to Clark Nexsen, in 2009, the average cost of all school construction in NC was $127.92 per square foot. By 2014, the cost had increased to $203 per square foot, and based on escalation of about 8 percent per year, by 2020 the figure is projected to be $238.

The Board of Education will start its regular meeting with a one-hour public input session regarding the facilities master plan on March 20, at Rosman Elementary School starting at 6:30 p.m. More information is available on the school system website

An open forum is available online for users to download reports, submit questions or comments, and read the feedback of other residents at

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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