Education

Durham Public Schools Board of Education to discuss Whitted School, lights

Renovations to the venerable Whitted School building (pictured) are nearing completion. When it’s finished, the facility will provide affordable housing to 79 senior citizens and eight preschool classes for 144 students.
Renovations to the venerable Whitted School building (pictured) are nearing completion. When it’s finished, the facility will provide affordable housing to 79 senior citizens and eight preschool classes for 144 students.

The Whitted School project is among the topics the Durham Public Schools Board of Education is scheduled to discuss Thursday, March 23, as part of its regular business meeting.

Whitted School is a $21.5 million multi-generational project that will feature eight preschool classrooms to serve 144 children and nine apartment units for senior citizens.

The preschool will open in August.

The school board has asked County Commissioners to pay the $1.5 million annual operating cost for the preschool.

The school board and commissioners have agreed to split the cost, but DPS said an extraordinarily tight budget year coupled with uncertainty about a state mandate to reduce class size has made it tough to honor the pledge.

County Commissioner Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs said commissioners will discuss the request as part of county budget deliberations.

In other business Thursday, the school board will decide whether to pursue a deal to purchase more than 15,000 LED light fixtures for $385,781.

The Durham Public Schools would buy the fixtures using 2016 Bond funds.

It must make the purchase before April 16 to apply for a $1.5 million utility rebate because the rebates are expected to change substantially on that date.

If the board approves the purchase from Durham-based Mayer Electric Supply, installation of the light fixtures would take place over the summer in 14 schools.

DPS officials said the new light fixtures will reduce operating costs in 14 schools.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645

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