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CMS Eyes Site For New South High School But Board Member Says It's Not Locked In


South Charlotte’s social media lit up this weekend with reports that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has chosen a site for a new southern high school. But the school board member who represents that area says it’s not a done deal.

School bonds approved in 2017 include about $110 million to build a school that will pull students from Ardrey Kell and South Mecklenburg high schools. With more than 3,000 students each, those schools are well past their designed capacity and among the largest schools in North Carolina.

Sean Strain, who represents the southern District 6, says CMS has reviewed at least four possible sites.

Former Superintendent Clayton Wilcox had recommended putting the school next to Olde Providence Elementary on Rea Road, Strain said. The district recently began testing soil  there, he said, which sparked a round of Facebook speculation.

But Strain says he was never convinced the Olde Providence site was better than three locations further south. Wilcox resigned in July, and Strain says he has asked the new superintendent, Earnest Winston, to stop work at Olde Providence and report back to the board on all four options.

Strain said he considers two sites in the Interstate 485/Highway 51 corrider "ideal." Strain didn't share specific locations, and North Carolina's open meeting law allows discussions of potential real estate purchases to be done in closed session.

The new south high school won’t open until 2023, according to material presented during the bond campaign.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.