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School Board Reaffirms Current Plan for Philo-Hill Renovation

September 28, 2022 – The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to continue with obtaining construction pricing for the current design scope of Philo-Hill Magnet Academy.

An extensive renovation for the middle school was planned for early 2020, but the pandemic threw the entire construction industry for a tailspin and the project had to be delayed. The original scope of the bond that funded the project would have renovated all the square footage of the existing building, fixed ADA issues, and built a new 3-story classroom wing. However, the plan has evolved with more community and administrative input over the last few years, and the current plan includes renovating the gym, converting the current kitchen and cafeteria into administrative space, converting the current administrative space and auditorium into new STEAM classrooms, and building a new media center, kitchen, cafeteria, and three-story classroom wing.

Over the last few weeks, the Board has been hard at work soliciting opinions to make sure the entire community can be proud of the next steps for the project. After hearing an update from the Construction Department earlier this month, they had another public forum for questions last week, and members of the community turned out in big numbers to make their voices heard at the meeting on Tuesday. The Board considered trying to switch to a new plan that was more in line with the original scope of the bond or even demolishing Philo-Hill and building a completely new school, but in the end, they decided that the current plan would be best for the students of Philo-Hill and the district as a whole.

The Board also voted to postpone expansion-related renovations at Ward Elementary School, Griffith Elementary School and Smith Farm Middle School until they can be funded by a later bond. While it was difficult to put off these projects, the majority of the board members agreed that this strategy would minimize costs and ensure that the most pressing renovations were done at the most expedient pace. In spite of all the pandemic-related struggles that have impacted this project, the district has made the most of the available resources.

“I have not worked with anybody whose desire is to withhold anything from any student, from any teacher, from any parent from our community,” Board Member Elisabeth Motsinger said. “I really hope we can offer our staff, our public school employees some grace and some good will for working in impossible situations.”

Also on the docket for the Board were:

  • A performance of “Madre Tierra” by students from Smith Farm Elementary School
  • Recognitions for community colleagues and district team members for Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Recognitions for JROTC cadets who competed with others from around the world in Washington, D.C and came in fifth place
  • Approval of changes to policies on student discipline and drug and alcohol protocol

The next meeting of the Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:30 pm.