According to the 2016 Bond project schedule, a new Brunson Elementary schools is expected to open in 2023. As of today, its location is still unknown. At a time when the school district is holding special meetings to add facilities to the list of capital improvement projects, we urge WSFCS to act with similar concern on behalf of Brunson Elementary as promised by the 2016 Bond.
We at SHP last reported the Brunson site selection timeline in a February 2019 post called, “Setting Sites on Brunson.” What follows is a brief update.
Currently under consideration are three sites: The former Thomasville Furniture factory (and adjoining property); Brunson at Brunson; and property at Crossnore School. (See local news reporting here.)
The Thomasville Furniture factory at 1245 Ivey Avenue is in a new development area recently dubbed Industry Hill. The site is a brownfield and so would require remediation of contaminates on site before it could become environmentally viable for an elementary school. While the site itself is within the boundary of the current Brunson residential zone, it is on the farthest edge of it and far from any residential area.
Building Brunson at the current Brunson site has been under consideration from the very beginning. It is problematic because the area is in a flood plain and flooding events have become increasingly frequent. This solution is often described as “Brunson on stilts” and although many residents favor keeping the school nestled in the center of the zone and within a residential area there are those who predict it would be a mistake to build in the area.
The property at Crossnore is the newest addition to the sites under consideration. Although it has not been specified exactly where on the large 200-acre Crossnore site it is located, it is a 17-acre plot somewhere on the far east side of their property. 17-acres is an ample sized plot for an elementary school construction and would place the new school close to Cook Elementary but also closer to its original home.
Word is that Darrell Walker has said there are actually 2 sites at Crossnore under consideration. SHP reached out to WSFCS staff to confirm this report but did not receive a response from the District.
According to local news reports, WSFCS initially identified as many as 20 pieces of property as potential locations for Brunson Elementary but almost all of those sites were eventually eliminated for one reason or another.
Other possibilities recently considered, or in this case re-considered, was merging Brunson with Cook Elementary at the Cook property on 11th Street. Former Superintendent Hairston strongly considered it a possibility but that has once again been set aside and is no longer in consideration.
However, when this proposition was first announced to the public in a Journal article in November 2009, it was met with staunch resistance from the community.
The Brunson community have received several promises over the past three years that a site would be announced in a matter of months. We’re still waiting for an announcement and for Brunson to receive attention from the WSFCS staff with the sense of urgency it deserves.
The WSFCS Bond Tracker for Brunson can be found here, but as of today, it was last updated in 2019.