Pisgah has suffered from overcrowding and a shortage of classrooms, which has left some teachers and the school choir without their own rooms. The renovation will add classrooms and offices for teachers who are currently floating around the school, construct a choir room and reconfigure the drop-off and parking spaces.
The total estimated cost of the expansion is $2.5 million. The county will borrow $1.7 million of that on behalf of the school system from TD Bank at an interest rate of 2 percent, making the estimated accrued interest over the life of the loan $187,000.
“We’ve got some really good rates,” said Julie Davis, Haywood County finance director, who reviewed the five different bids the county received at the board of commissioners meeting Monday.
However, Davis also noted that interest rates have risen and did not look as if they were doing back down.
“I think the super good rates we would have gotten six months ago we are not going to get,” she said.
The other $800,000 of the project cost will come from lottery money, or state funds dedicated specifically for school construction projects.
Pisgah was previously the smaller school, with Tuscola High School catering to the bulk of Haywood County students. However, since the county decided to send kids from the Clyde area to Pisgah for high school, the Canton school’s enrollment has grown and even exceeds that of Tuscola’s by about 50 students.
The county has already hired an architect to add a new pulp and paper laboratory at Pisgah, which exposes students to the type of work taking place at the nearby Evergreen Packaging paper mill. The skills training can prepare student early for a job in the papermaking industry.