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Woodlawn school fate delayed

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

HILLSVILLE — The Carroll School Board’s recent split vote on turning the former Woodlawn School building over to the county has prompted the Carroll County Board of Supervisors to postpone a final decision on the facility’s fate.
At the county board meeting on Oct. 21, supervisor Joshua Hendrick brought up the recent vote in which two of the five school board members voted against giving Woodlawn School to the county.
“We had several conversations, where we discussed ideas for uses, but at least two of the school board members were not in favor of turning [the school] back over to Carroll County,” Hendrick told the board. “I think that we should pull this item out and look at it again in December.”
The school board meeting on Oct. 8 saw two protest votes cast by board member Joey Haynes and Chairman Brian Spencer against transferring the school to county supervisors.
Although most of the board thought that the transfer was a “done deal,” Spencer said he saw potential value in keeping the building and the 21 acres of land it sits on. According to Spencer, it is strongly possible that any future school that might be needed in Carroll would likely be built in Woodlawn.
At the school board meeting, several needs for the building were discussed, and it was noted that the fields are still used by the school for several programs, especially athletics.
Spencer questioned whether these grounds would still be available for students. Carroll Schools Superintendent Strader Blankenship assured him that county officials would allow the school to use the facilities as needed.
However, when it came time for the vote, both Spencer and Haynes voted no to the transfer.
Hendrick noted at the supervisors’ meeting that Haynes had visited his office the previous Saturday, where he shared his concerns about possibly needing the land at some point in the future.
Due to the mixed feelings that are still apparent with this decision, Hendrick moved that the matter be put aside for a month to give everyone more time to work out a plan that is suitable for everybody.
Board member Phil D. McCraw agreed with Hendrick’s suggestion. “Maybe we should put that back over there and get everything ironed out,” he said.
Supervisor At-Large Sam Dixon tentatively agreed, but reminded the board that elections would be taking place between now and then, which will inevitably cause a busy schedule.
The board approved Hendrick’s request, and will pick the matter back up at the December meeting.