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Temporary home for Central Haywood High School 


Temporary home for Central Haywood High School 


Due to the flooding that ravaged the Canton, Cruso and Clyde areas in the wake of Tropical Storm Fred  last summer, Central Haywood High School was badly damaged

Months later, students and staff have been unable to return to their school building, working on an alternating schedule of remote and in-person instruction at Waynesville Middle School. However, beginning next school year, Central Haywood students and staff will have a temporary home where students can receive regular in-person instruction, while the school system hunts for a permanent location. 

After state and federal agents conducted a walkthrough of the flood-damaged Central Haywood High School building in Clyde, they advised HCS administration to seek relocation for the school instead of trying to repair and re-inhabit the old building. 

“They said because of the proximity to the river and because of the number of times that it has flooded and because of the damage that is always associated with those flooding events, they recommended we seek relocation,” said Associate Superintendent Dr. Trevor Putnam. 

At a special called board meeting last week, the administration asked the board for approval to temporarily move Central Haywood staff and students into the old Central Elementary building beginning next school year. The board approved the decision unanimously. 

Currently, Haywood County Schools Central Office inhabits the old Central Elementary building, along with the school system’s IT department. However, renovations to the new Central Office Administration building are almost finished and administration plans to begin moving into the new building within the next month. 

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The IT department will remain at Central Elementary, occupying the right wing of the building if one is looking at the entrance to the school from Joy Lane; Central Haywood will occupy the left wing. Once Central Office has relocated to its new building, administrators plan to move preschool and EC support staff into what was previously the kindergarten building at Central Elementary. 

Since the floods occurred during the first week of school this year, Central Haywood students and staff have been out of a building for almost the entire year. At this time, students are attending school remotely and in-person on a rotating basis . In-person classes take place on the second floor of the old academy building on the campus of Waynesville Middle School. 

The decision to move Central Haywood operations to the Central Elementary building was made to give students and staff a home base in the interim while looking for a permanent location to establish the school. 

“A relocation to central elementary would allow them to have full classroom space, it would allow them to have a cafeteria, it would allow them to have a gym and ample outside area to spread out and enjoy the school experience,” said Putnam. 

Finding a new, permanent home for Central Haywood High School could take several years. The school system is currently in an exploration phase to determine a relocation site. According to Putnam, FEMA may possibly pay for the structure but will not pay for the purchase of property for a structure. 

During the special-called meeting, school board member Jim Francis brought up the issue of transportation, asking Putnam whether additional transportation would be needed from the Canton side of the county to get Central Haywood students to the Central Elementary building. 

“We certainly will, and those adjustments will just have to be made,” said Putnam. “I’m sure that routes will have mileage added to them, I’m sure there will be longer travel times. But in the end, I feel like it is worthwhile for those kids.” 

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