According to the Shelby Star’s version the Cleveland County School Board voted to build auditoriums at both Burns and Crest High Schools. What was actually approved was exactly this: “MOTION to authorize the administration to begin the architect selection process to build auditoriums at Burns High School and Crest High Schools.” This is one time everybody ought to watch and listen closely to the School Board meeting video on the CCS website. Because, until this auditorium building approval lie hit Monday night, not one word of constructive discussion had been uttered in the past three years of school board meetings and school board workshops.
What is obvious in this motion, if you read the fine print, is that actually building the auditoriums was NOT approved, nor was the funding for these auditoriums approved or even talked about by anybody. The Superintendent stated the timeline was out to about 2020. The Superintendent also did not state a similar auditorium recently built in a town in Wisconsin cost $8 million. That’s an estimated $16 million for both Burns and Crest High Schools. $20 million if you count CCS’s usual waste in these kinds of projects. No wonder nothing was said about funding because there might not be enough money in the kitty to fund both these projects at the same time, along with building the new North Shelby School. (I would bet the Crest High School auditorium would get built first if built at all and Burns, years later..) I have requested, under the Freedom of Information Act: CCS Strategic Building Plans, County Demographic projections, financial documents, etc. related to the auditorium and natatorium construction for Burns and Crest High Schools. (Natatoriums are swimming pools like Shelby and Kings Mountain have had for years. CCS Dictator Phillip Glover never mentioned natatoriums to the Shelby Star or at the School Board meeting, but Dictator Glover has to know that Burns and Crest High Schools will not ever be truly equal to Shelby and Kings Mountain High Schools until their facilities are also equal.)
Another thing that was not talked about was where is the wisdom of building an $8-10 million auditorium onto a 50 year old school that was built on the cheap in the first place? Anybody else remember the Burns High School gymnasium roof caving in during a minor ice storm in 1969?
Note: For further information on why Burns and Crest were built without Auditoriums, you have to step back in time over sixty years.
In 1954 the Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case, the US Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal school race segregation was unconstitutional. All Cleveland County schools at the time were segregated. Separate schools for Blacks and Schools for Whites. North Carolina and especially Cleveland County drug their feet on integration of white and black schools which the Brown v. Board of Education required for as long as they could. (NC Governor Terry Sanford even threatened the Feds to shut down the public school system in NC as a ploy to delay integration.) Burns and Crest High Schools have identical plans and both opened in 1968 as the first integrated High Schools in the Cleveland County School System as it existed at that time. As a carry over fear that black students and white students would clash violently when mixed together, the thought was to contain any violence in separate classrooms of relatively smaller size. One reason for leaving off auditoriums at the Burns and Crest High Schools was actually to prevent race mixing on a larger scale and to justify the no auditoriums feature as cost savings. Previous to the construction of Burns and Crest High Schools, all county schools (for whites) that I know of had auditoriums as their standard floor plan. Another consideration was that by 1968 all the separate schools black and white would be integrated. Burns High School in 1968 combined the old Fallston, Waco, Belwood, Polkville, Casar and Piedmont white schools in with Douglas, Philadelphia and perhaps other black schools. Burns and Crest High Schools were super schools of their time and cost savings from not building auditoriums could easily be justified.