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Monday, October 15, 2012

From guns to schools at the Wake County commission

Posted by on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Two interesting items on the agenda at today’s Wake County Board of Commissioners' meeting (2 pm, Wake County Courthouse). One: the commissioners are asking the school board to promise stability on a career and technical education high school that’s still in the planning process. Two: approving a contract for roughly $800,000 to put a new roof on a county gun range.

The firing of former superintendent Tony Tata in late September has put renewed strain on the relationship between the GOP-controlled commission and the Democratic-led school board. Commission chair Paul Coble publicly denounced the firing and cancelled all forthcoming meetings between the two boards until the school board promised stability on several key initiatives.

One of those is the CTE high school, an initiative started under Tata. CTE is a concept used in middle and high schools that seeks to teach skills with "practical life application," according to the school system's website. Agriculture, marketing, and health occupations are listed among the core subjects.

The school board already unanimously voted to move forward with converting a former Coca-Cola bottling plant on South Wilmington Street into the new CTE high school. However, according to today's agenda, commissioners are looking to require the school board to pass a resolution affirming at least seven years of support for the project, before they will allow it to move forward.

Re: the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center and its new roof, I decided to check in because the building was only built in 1999. 13 years seems like a very short lifespan for a roof and $800,000 like an awfully large sum of money when many county services are experiencing budget constraints.

I'm told by a county project manager that ten-year roofs were the industry standard in the nineties and that the county is replacing roofs on several similar buildings. In today's construction world, roofs typically have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

The firearms center, which includes an indoor gun range, is open to the public and also used to train Wake County law enforcement personnel. The county pays Range Safety Management, LLC to manage the building for public use.

The project manager said that some "misfires" have hit the ceiling of the building, but because of a concrete barrier, the stray shots didn't actually penetrate the roof.

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