Teachers say Johnston County school repairs will help with learning

FOUR OAKS, N.C. (WNCN) — Several Johnston County schools are now undergoing critical repairs.

Teachers say these fixes are vital for learning.

“When you have to mop every time it rains, this is exciting,” said Kathy Parrish about the repairs.

Construction workers at Four Oaks Elementary get cheers from the principal.

Parrish says this work isn’t just a fix, it’s a saving grace.

“We’re a historical community school,” Parrish said.


Some of the students have grandparents who went to school at Four Oaks and there were concerns the building could be torn down and replaced.

The problems especially include roof issues going back several years.

“The past two years have been significant because every time it rains, we have leaks,” Parrish said.

From outside, looking at the old roof, the middle of it is actually lower than the tops of the walls, as the two sides dip to the middle.

Rain currently drains through the building, with exposed pipes in the hallway.

Clogs occurred and ceiling panels rotted.

The staff has to create garbage bag funnels whenever it rains.

“Engineering-wise, we needed a new roof to catch up with modern times and technology so the rainwater would actually go off, not in,” Parrish said.

Selma Middle School also has ongoing problems with downpours.

“We had one classroom where the leak was so intense that it would set off the motion detector and the burglar alarm,” said Chris Kennedy.

They’re also getting a new heating and cooling system after relying on a portable chiller for the past year.

“When kids are too hot or kids are too cold, or teachers are too hot or teachers are too cold, it really has an impact on learning,” Kennedy said.

Crews are doing their best not impact learning.

When students are in the building they try to do less noisy activities on the roof, officials said.

“They work around our schedule, so we hardly know they’re here,” Kennedy said.

These projects are the start of 17 major repairs, costing the district $30 million.

One is a significant safety concern: the bleachers at Clayton High School’s football stadium.

The bleachers could be replaced as soon as this month.

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