If the May 4 bond referendum passes, three high schools in Lincoln County could see significant improvements.
Of the $47 million bond, $18 million would be used to add a cultural arts wing and extra gymnasium each to East Lincoln High School, Lincolnton High School and West Lincoln High School.
Part of the $18 million would also go to repairs and renovations at the schools.
â€œSome of the core facilities are at that point where they need renovation and modernization,â€ said Superintendent Jim Watson. â€œTheyâ€™re reaching the end of their intended function.â€
Boney Architecture has already begun work on artist renderings of the proposed additions.
â€œWeâ€™re just trying to get ahead of the game, and also have something for the public to see,â€ said Watson.
Lincolnton High is the only design currently completed.
One interactive design team made up of parents, staff and administration was used to design additions to all three schools.
The 45,000 square feet addition will be nearly identical at all three schools.
Differences depend on how the architect chooses to tie the addition into the rest of the building.
â€œWe donâ€™t want an addition to stick out like a sore thumb,â€ said Watson.
Additional gyms and cultural arts wings would free up class room space, allowing 150 extra students to attend each school.
This would delay the need to build another high school, said Watson.
Health classrooms would be built adjacent to the new gyms.
Each gym would have 1,400 seats, lobbies, restrooms and dressing facilities.
Scott Cloninger, athletic director at Lincolnton High, believes the schoolâ€™s current gym is inadequate.
â€œWe definitely need new facilities,â€ said Cloninger. â€œOur gym and lobby is just so small. We cannot house big crowds.â€
The added gyms would help sports schedules at all three high schools. Sports teams currently have to compete for gym space.
During basketball season, boys and girls junior varsity and boys and girls varsity teams compete for gym time.
â€œIf youâ€™re the last team to practice, youâ€™re getting home pretty late at night,â€ said Debra Morris, principal of West Lincoln High School.
Morris believes the late practices could affect academic performance.
Some are also concerned about the athletes who have to drive themselves home after late practices.
â€œThatâ€™s not a safe time for our young people to be out on the road,â€ said Cloninger.
West Lincoln High received additions and renovations during the last bond referendum, but the school has new needs, said Morris.
The school is currently at capacity and is running out of classroom space.
â€œIâ€™ve got them stuck into every nook and cranny,â€ said Morris. by Sarah Grano