Board vote expected in November on a name for the new school
Terri Cockerham works in an office surrounded by architectural drawings, photos and work folders devoted to the new public high school under construction on Bailey Road. She makes weekly trips by the construction site. She meets with all sorts of people who are involved with the project. But she has no students around her.
“There are no kids in the halls,” she noted with dismay about her temporary office space at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) North Area Learning Community building in Huntersville. “There is no night stuff to attend – no athletic events, no plays. That’s an unusual experience for me.”
Dr. Cockerham is principal for the new Bailey Road high school, which is scheduled to open for the 2010-11 school year. She’ll be at Davidson Town Hall Monday for a meet-and-greet with the community.
She said she hasn’t had many visitors at open houses about the school so far. She welcomes the public to come chat about the school, ask questions and look at all the display boards for the new Bailey Road school. Dr. Cockerham will be at the Davidson Town Hall Monday from 4-5 p.m.
According to CMS school boundary maps, the Bailey Road campus will be the community high school for all of Davidson and Cornelius and portions of Huntersville. (Click here to see a PDF of the boundary map.)
“The boundaries are done for now,” Dr. Cockerham said.
3 FINALISTS FOR SCHOOL NAME
The building is on schedule to open in the fall, and Dr. Cockerham said the next big step will be getting a name approved for the newest CMS high school.
A 20-member committee of students, parents, community members and CMS representatives sifted through 30 submitted possibilities and picked three school names to forward to CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman. Dr. Cockerham said the school system won’t divulge the three finalists until they are presented to the school board, which is expected at its Nov. 10 meeting.
“We had a variety of historical names, geographical names and creative names to choose from,” Dr. Cockerham said. “I was very pleased with the student input. I do think we reached a consensus.”
Representing Davidson on the committee were Mayor John Woods (Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte was also on the committee) and former 20-year Davidson town Commissioner Garfield Carr. Representing Bailey Middle were PTA Board Members Terri Heskett and Angela Fletcher, parent Bill Shapcott, and 8th-grade students Eric Vest and Mackenzie Alge.
Dr. Cockerham said that once the new name is in place, she will seek community input about choosing a school mascot and school colors. The options are rather limited. CMS already has 19 high schools (or 31 if you count all the alternative programs), and as the newest kid in town, the Bailey Road school will have to choose a mascot and colors that haven’t already been claimed.
So what’s left — brown and grey?
“Well, the new high school in Mint Hill is looking at brown,” Dr. Cockerham pointed out.
THE ROAD IS IN!
Whatever its name and mascot, the new high school on Bailey Road will open for the upcoming academic year ready to serve grades 9-11, with a senior class to be added in the following year. Dr. Cockerham said the school will start in the fall with a full complement of sports teams and as many clubs and extracurricular activities as possible.
The school now has a new back access through an eastward extension of Bailey Road that connects with Barnhardt Road, near where Barnhardt intersects with Davidson-Concord Road (by Hopewell Baptist Church). The .8 mile extension of Bailey is paved and almost ready to open for traffic. It will loop around the student parking lot in back and a boulder discovered on the site that will serve as Bailey’s “spirit rock.”
“It’s gorgeous,” Dr. Cockerham said of the school’s interior, which she said uses as much natural lighting as possible and has “calming” color tones.
The two-story, 258,000-square-foot school on a 60-acre site is the second CMS high school project for Rodgers Builders of Charlotte. The company built Mallard Creek High, which opened in 2007 in Charlotte. Rodgers Builders has also done numerous renovation and building projects at Davidson College, including the $12.3 million Baker Sports Complex, completed in 1989. The Bailey high school project involves a number of “green” technologies, including recycled concrete under the parking lot, energy-saving lighting and special “rain garden” basins for storm water runoff. (Click here to see the Rodgers Builders profile of the $43 million Bailey project.)
Behind the building, the football field and baseball diamonds have already been seeded. The building will also feature a patio off of the school cafeteria and a set of eight lighted tennis courts.
Dr. Cockerham will be looking for an Athletic Director this winter, and once that position and the Assistant Principals are in place, it will be time to start interviewing for teachers and coaches. Most of the hiring will probably take place in the early spring. Dr. Cockerham said construction should wrap up in June, after which CMS will move in all the desks and equipment, and then she will at long last be able to more her office into an actual school.
READY FOR HIGH ACHIEVERS
Though opening a new school is a new experience for Dr. Cockerham, building construction is something she has dealt with before in her 26 year career with CMS.
Dr. Cockerham is a Charlotte native, a CMS alum, and spent summers boating on Lake Norman. She started her professional career as a high school history and “competency math” teacher at Olympic High. Her longest stint so far with CMS was eight years spent as the principal at Eastway Middle School, which during her tenure underwent a two-year relocation to “swing space” to allow building renovations. Dr. Cockerham comes to Bailey from Providence High, where she served as principal after earned her doctoral degree from UNCC in 2005.
Noting that Providence High is one of the strongest high schools in the state in terms of academic performance, Dr. Cockerham said she is prepared to work with a new student body at Bailey that will likely be eager for Advance Placement and honors classes. Bailey Middle alone has over 300 of its 1,200 students — or 28 percent– classified as “gifted” through talent development assessments.
“I have very high expectations for our students and for myself,” she said. “This will be an academically rigorous school. We will serve students at all levels.”
Dr. Cockerham’s face lights up when she looks over the photos of construction progress along Bailey Road and she is clearly itching to get into the new building.
“It’s an honor to be opening a new school,” she said. “I’m really excited to be a part of putting into place some of the things that will become the traditions for this high school and this community.”