Leadership within the Union County Board of Education has become increasingly frustrated by delays with renovations to Sun Valley High School, which is the last of the seven bond projects approved by voters in 2016.
Kathy Heintel, who chairs the school board’s facilities committee, encouraged Assistant Superintendent Mark Strickland on Dec. 17 to put more pressure on the contractor to finish the project. Heintel wants to ensure the new athletic stadium is ready for when high school sports kick off Jan. 25.
“I’m not blaming you guys, but I need you for the next six weeks to ride them to get this done and get it done the right way – not the way that it’s been done so far,” Heintel told Strickland. “I understand that there was issues from before and I understand it’s not all their issue. There’s been some design problems as well, but we’ve got to get this done and get it done the right way and deliver a beautiful product to that community. It’s not fair otherwise.”
Strickland said a drainage issue in front of the ticket kiosk required workers to rip up the concrete, fix the problem and put the concrete back. Once that’s done, gates will be installed.
Heintel feels like the finish line just keeps getting extended. .
“The fact that we are sitting here six months after graduation and that stadium’s not done – I can’t even,” Heintel said. “I don’t even understand it. I drive by that school all the time. There’s nobody out there working. It’s disappointing and I know that they’re having problems with subs. I get it, but it’s just getting to a degree that – I don’t even know what to say anymore.”
Melissa Merrell, who chairs the school board, said she shared Heintel’s frustrations. She said that pressure should have been applied to the contract once the N.C. High School Athletic Association announced plans for sports returning.
“At this point, it feels like a breach of the contract,” Merrell said.
Strickland assured Heintel and Merrell UCPS staff is pushing weekly, noting ongoing dialogue and visits to the site.