BoE’s Travis Allen Showed Flexibility in Changing his Mind about the Location of the West Consolidation

Posted on May 1, 2016

Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney

♦ Rowan Rural Save Our Schools made some major yardage today when BoE member Travis Allen and a fellow the majority of us supported in the last election showed flexibility when he changed his mind about the location of the West Consolidation and announced it on Facebook. Travis Allen, after facing serious questions from this citizens/parents/taxpayer group’s entreaties at West Rowan this weekend as to the dangers of the present” “West Consolidated” site next to a dangerous natural gas/electrical plant, is now searching for a new site.  Travis’s Facebook quote below.

While trying to distance the rest of the BoE from this embarrassing potential debacle, the question remains, why build a “West Consolidated” at all?

Wherever you put it, the bus times from the county line will still be too great. Most of the folks in Cleveland are very happy with their school. Why not sue the quarry for ruining our well and build a new “right-sized” Woodleaf Elementary in an area that has clean water and is close enough not to punish out most venerable, youngest children with long bus rides?

It will be easily half the cost of the “consolidated monster” and closer for the children. Granted sfL+a will not make as large a profit, but otherwise it makes sense?

Keep thinking “outside the box,” Travis, those little kids in West Rowan are depending on you to make sure they get home before dark every night and with enough energy to eat dinner and do their homework!

Quoted from Travis Allen’s Facebook Page:

“When things go wrong it is back to the drawing board. If you scroll down this facebook page you will see how the Godbey Rd. property was selected for the new elementary school.. That’s a long story so I will not go there again. Please drop down and read it if you wish.

You think finding a place to build a house is tough, try building an elementary school. Man oh man can that be a tough one. As I have stated before I was determined to fine a neutral site that is not in Cleveland and not in Woodleaf. I love both communities and just did not have the heart to give one community a new school and move the others. I felt a central location was best and I still do. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and that amazing piece of neutral property has no risk of blowing up or having a NASCAR type wreck in front of it does not exist. If it does I have not found it yet. Also, no matter what you pick you are not going to make everyone happy. If it is in Cleveland the Woodleaf community will feel cheated. If it is in Woodleaf the Cleveland folks will be upset. Dang this is a tuff one. A new school is needed for each location. This is not even debatable. However we can not justify building a new one for each community especially when Morgan, Rockwell, Bostian, Enochville, China Grove, and others are just as old and just as in need of replacement..

A few weeks ago the power plant located near the Godbey Rd property had a transformer explosion and a fire. I don’t think things happen by chance. I believe that God places things in our lives that get our attention and cause us to pause. Well after the explosion I didn’t just pause my heart went in reverse. I immediately along with other BOE members began a “step back and evaluate” process on the Godby Rd. property.

If blame needs to be placed upon anyone let me shoulder that burden. I was the one who found the location. You can not blame Josh Wagner nor Dr. Moody or Anthony Vann. I knew the power plant was there and I knew the intersection there at 801 and Godbey road had a few issues. The intersection was not a major concern because I felt that a traffic signal or round about could be placed there to fix that situation. My family had lived next door to the power plant for years. They had always been a good neighbor and we were told by emergency management that they posed very little risk and our site was safe. Transformers can blow up anywhere. There are thousands of them all over the county. You probably have one in sight of your house. What you don’t have is enough natural gas and diesel fuel in your yard to make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like a back yard camp fire. That transformer had me thinking way before our community meeting at West Rowan last Thursday.

Many individuals voiced their concern about the safety of the location at that community meeting. You know what? They are right! I am listening.
While I do not speak for the BOE, I personally will no longer support that location. I have already began my search for a better location. I very well may have to compromise on my neutral site location. A school that houses 600 students needs water and sewer access that most of Woodleaf can not offer. The ground there often barley perks for a house septic system much less a septic system for 600 children. This fact pushes us closer to Cleveland and Hwy 70 where water and sewer are available. Also the community correctly pointed out that the closer you get to Cleveland the faster you get to FIRE, EMS and Police response times. No matter where the school is built the chance of longer bus rides are obvious. However, if we choose a site where sewer and water is close we can save enough to add buses to the new school. Choosing a location near water and sewer can save us close to 1 million.. I believe that if we add two or three buses we can keep the bus ride times the same and maybe even shorten them for some. This would also give us the funds to fix the roofs at Mt. Ulla and Morgan.

My desire for a new combined Woodleaf and Cleveland school has never been in question. I campaigned on the fact that I supported it and wanted it built sooner than latter. Everyone was well aware of that when I was elected. It should be of no surprise that I am aggressively pursuing it now. Our children deserve a new school. 90 year old buildings don’t last forever. Now onward to find the a suitable location. And folks, I am doing the best I can. I am human. I can’t make everyone happy with the location.

If you have 25+ acres in the Woodleaf or Cleveland area you want to sell hit me up. On second though the word “hit” is not a good term. How about just sending me a message or email.”

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