Durham County residents worried school construction could hurt water supply

Little River Lake (Image courtesy of Abovecarolina.com)

BAHAMA, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham county residents are concerned a proposed charter school in their neighborhood could negatively affect their water supply.

Hundreds of students in Durham County are looking for a new school to go after the construction of Discovery Charter School was delayed.

The school was supposed to open in the fall, but push-back from the community has slowed the process.


Citizens who live near the proposed construction site have appealed the charter school’s approval.

“We like our peace and quiet and that’s why we’re out here,” said Rhonda Coates.

Coates said she moved from Durham five years ago to get out of the city. She now lives off of Orange Factory Road in Bahama, which is where Discovery Charter School is supposed to be built.

She says she is worried what a new school will do for the traffic, and the development of her neighborhood.

“The concerns are our property value. It’s no longer the rural country setting. It’s no longer a scenic bypass,” said Coates.

But it’s more than just the look of their community.

Amongst the scenic Bahama property is Little River Lake, a water supply for the city and county of Durham. The proximity of the water to the school’s proposed site is something that concerns not just residents like Coates, but even City Council members.

In an email Durham City Council member Steve Schewel said developing along the water would be awful and is a grave concern throughout the city’s administration.

However, the builder of the new school says the community’s concerns are unfounded.

“I think it’s frivolous because there is no basis behind their argument,” said Steve Hubrich.

Hubrich is the developer of the proposed Discovery Charter School. He says he’s followed all the guidelines and gotten approval to build from the Durham Board of Adjustment.

“I think what we have a small handful of people that just don’t want the school in their backyard,” said Hubrich.

Hubrich says the next step in the process is an appeals hearing in August. He says once the project gets approval, he expects to start building immediately

CBS North Carolina reached out to Phillip Harris Jr., the chairman of the Durham Board of Adjustment, but has not heard back.

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