The hot topic of discussion recently about Seaforth High School, the attendance zone districting, has now been decided. The school board unanimously voted on scenario 3. This decision will send the Briar Chapel high school students to Seaforth High School.
Seaforth High School is being built on a 75-acre site off Seaforth Road. It is a 213,000-sf facility. It will initially accommodate 1200 students, but there is a planned addition that will raise the student capacity to 1400.
Seaforth High School is on track to meet LEED Silver Certification, EnergyStar Certification requirements, and Duke Energy’s Efficiency Design Assistance Program. It will also meet the NCDPI program requirements: 30 academic classrooms, 9 science classrooms/labs, 2 self-contained, exceptional education classrooms, a complete athletic complex and cultural arts complex, and a career technical education and business/service classrooms/labs.
Now that the attendance zone decision has been made, I am sure there are many questions. The following questions were asked and answered by Chris Blice, Assistant Superintendent of Operations at Chatham County Schools. There are still some questions that could not be answered yet, because decisions have yet to be made by the school board.
1. When is the opening of Seaforth High School scheduled? Is construction on schedule to meet this deadline?
Seaforth High School is scheduled to open for the 2021/202 school year. The estimated completion date is April 6, 2021. It is currently within budget and on schedule.
2. When Seaforth High School opens, which grades will attend? Going forward, how will the new grades be added?
The school will open with grades 9 and 10. The 11th grade will be added in the second year and 12th grade in the third year. This approach allows the Seaforth student body to develop gradually and for the population at Northwood to reduce gradually.
3. When will staff hiring begin for Seaforth High School?
This is yet to be determined. The first hires will be the principal and other key positions. Once they are in place, we will be working through the process of moving existing positions from Northwood to Seaforth and hiring. This will likely be handled similarly to how this was done for the opening of Chatham Grove Elementary.
4. How will grandfathering/request for reassignment work?
This is also yet to be determined. This is a topic the Board of Education will begin discussing at their September meeting.
5. Will Seaforth High School have its own Student Resource Officer (SRO)?
Yes, this will likely be one of the two SRO positions currently assigned to Northwood High School.
6. What types of programming will be offered?
All our high schools are considered to be comprehensive high schools. Academic offerings will be similar to the academic offerings at Northwood and at our other high schools. Classes are taught will (as always) be dependent upon student needs and interests.
7. Will Seaforth High School be a dual language school?
This is also, to be determined.
8. How will technology be incorporated into the classroom?
All our schools have a high level of technology incorporated into the classroom, both in regard to hardware and instructionally. This will be continued at Seaforth High School as well.
9. Will the school schedule/hours be the same as Northwood High School?
This is also to be determined, but it is likely.
10. What sports/arts programs will be offered? How will those begin?
Regarding athletic offerings, Seaforth will have the same availability as our three existing high schools. Teams that are made will depend upon student interest. Because the school is opening with 9th and 10th graders only, it is likely that most teams during the first year will be JV.
Fall Sports – Football, Volleyball, Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Boys Soccer, Cheerleading
Winter Sports – Basketball, Wrestling, Indoor Track, Swimming/Diving, Cheerleading
Spring Sports – Baseball, Softball, Boys Tennis, Boys Golf, Girls Soccer, Track and Field, Lacross
11. What sports fields will be at Seaforth High School?
The stadium will welcome 2100 home fans and 900 visitors.
The softball and baseball fields will welcome 125 fans for the home teams, as well as, 125 for the visitors.
The athletic field will host 200 fans.
12. Are there traffic pattern surveys being done to ensure the safety of students?
This work was done (as required) during the design process and submitted to NC Department of Transportation for review. Needed road improvements, as mandated by NCDOT, are part of the construction process and will be in place before the start of school. If additional traffic improvements are needed, they will come from DOT.
13. How will parking be assigned? How many spaces will be available for students?
The assignment of the parking spaces will be determined by the principal. To begin, there will be 300 student spaces available. An additional 100 spaces are planned as part of a future addition.
14. Will bus transportation be offered to all?
Yes. Students who live in their school’s attendance zone will always have a bus option.
Chatham County Schools have long since been known for their focus on education and student success. We are thankful to be adding a new, state-of-the-art high school to continue focusing on producing successful, future community leaders.