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Asheville High School/SILSA Construction Updates

Good Evening Asheville High and SILSA  Students, Staff and Families.  This is Derek Edwards, with an important update about your school community. 

I wanted to let you know that our campus is in the beginning stages of several construction projects.  

Thanks to the generous support of our County Commissioners and the School Capital Fund Commission, we are installing solar panels to certain roofs and starting construction on Building G.  Additionally, using capital funds from the Maintenance Department, we are stabilizing the slope around the athletic field and adding external guttering to the media center/repairing its roof. 

Illustration 1: Aerial Photo with construction highlights

Aerial Photo

You will soon begin seeing additional work vehicles on your child’s campus.  Please know the construction crews will follow both our COVID-19 and Safety Protocols.  

  • Fencing will be around construction materials, and students will not have access to the prep sites.  
  • Background checks will be required for all on-site workers. 
  • Construction staff will be easily identifiable as part of the crew.  

None of these projects should interrupt instruction; however, it may impact how students move around the campus.  If it seems like a particular project will disrupt their typical movement between buildings, I will be in direct communication with our students to ensure their safety.    

Additionally, during this time, it will be imperative that your child parks in their assigned spot.  If a student does not park in their assigned spot, they will be ticketed.  I will be sharing this information with students directly but would appreciate your support in sharing this news about parking spots as well. 

SOLAR PANELS (green on map): 

Crews from MB Haynes will begin our school’s solar panel project tomorrow, Thursday, September 24th.  They will be installing solar panels to the roofs of the Cafeteria, the Arts Building and the CTE Building. 

The first phase of this project will include the Cafeteria and the Arts Building.  This phase will be complete before winter break.  Phase 2 will include the CTE Building and will be completed in the Spring Semester.  

Again, we do not anticipate disruptions to our school day but wanted to keep you informed about how the county’s investment in renewable energy is impacting our school community. 

THE MEDIA CENTER (yellow on map): 

Construction crews will also soon begin working on the Media Center.  

As it currently stands, there is a design flaw with the downspouts.  This means stormwater comes through the interior drywall whenever there’s heavy rain.  To repair this issue, the Media Center will receive new roofing and external guttering to drain water away from the building.  The drywall and ceiling will also be repaired.   

We anticipate the Media Center project to be completed before students leave for Winter Break. 

While construction is occurring, students WILL still be able to visit the Media Center and check out books. 

SLOPE STABILIZATION (blue on map): 

Our athletic field sits in the bottom of a grass valley.  Over time, water has begun to wash away the slope and created a small sink.  Therefore, contractors will make repairs to our outdoor drainage system in order to stabilize the grassy hill. 

At this time, crews have begun running camera lines to see the interior structure as it currently stands.  We are waiting on those results.  Once we have those results, we will begin having monthly meetings on plan submittals, permitting and bidding.  

Student-athletes WILL continue to have access to the athletic field both during the school day and for practice.  We DO NOT anticipate construction interfering with any upcoming athletic events.  

The project is estimated to finish this winter.  However, due to weather delays, procurements of materials and needed permits, completion may be pushed back.

Please understand that this is a vital step that must occur before we can replace the high school track. 

BUILDING G (red on map): 

As early as next week, construction will also begin on Building G.   

The original building was put together by students in 1948 as the vocational program’s real-world construction lesson; following a 2018 site visit from the Buncombe County Permits and Inspections Commercial Plan Reviewer, the building was structurally condemned and demolished.  

The new construction project will replace the old facility and will house classrooms, a weight room, a new program space and a locker room.

Last week, school and district leaders met with engineers, architects, contractors and Buncombe County Government to discuss next steps.  H&M Constructors will be leading the project.  

At this time, submissions are beginning for construction bids, and we are seeking approval from both The City of Asheville’s Zoning Department and Buncombe County’s Permits & Inspections Office. 

We anticipate construction on Building G will begin on Friday, October 1st.  Upon its start, the project will take, at minimum, 365 days.  Weather delays, inability to procure materials because of COVID-19 and unforeseen circumstances may extend this timeline. 

IN CONCLUSION: 

I am excited about these upgrades and appreciate our County Commissioners for their continued support as we invest in our next generation of leaders.  

I will continue to keep you updated as progress is made and appreciate your understanding as we work together to ensure construction across the high school is carried out as smoothly as possible. 

Thank you all for your continued support, and I look forward to maintaining an amazing campus for our current students and all those coming in future generations.