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Fort Bragg schools are in the midst of a $180 million facelift

by Henry Cuningham
Fort Bragg, NC | October 2, 2012

Diane Leavy teaches a fourth-grade class at Irwin Intermediate School.

Diane Leavy teaches a fourth-grade class at Irwin Intermediate School. | Photo: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

Fort Bragg schools are in the midst of a $180 million facelift to repair or replace 50-year-old buildings with the latest in learning and environmental technology.

On Sept. 27, Fort Bragg dedicated the $14.9 million, 112,025-square-foot Irwin Intermediate School.

The school is part of the federal system that serves children in prekindergarten through eighth grade living on Fort Bragg.

Eliana Gallardo, a parent, has a daughter in third grade at Irwin.

"We think it's wonderful," Gallardo said. "My daughter transferred from an off-post school to here. It's really great to see how the facility is. The SmartBoards they are using in the classrooms are really great. My daughter loves it here."

The building has a brick facade over concrete masonry walls for insulation and dampening sound.

Planning began in 2008, and construction started in 2010, said Dr. Emily Marsh, the superintendent. The school opened to pupils in August for the 2012-13 school year.

Over the years, the flat roofs on school buildings around North Carolina from the 1950s and 1960s were notorious for leaks and standing water.

The Irwin replacement school has rolled metal roofing, which is built for a long, leak-free life, said Jason Shirley, Fort Bragg schools facility manager.

The maintenance staff can remotely control temperatures in different rooms and areas as well as humidity.

In an energy-saving measure, lights come on when people enter the room.

Many of Fort Bragg's schools date to the baby boomer years when school construction paralleled the increase in the school-age population. McNair Elementary is 49 years old, Holbrook and Butner are 52 years old, and Pope is 47 years old.

The Irwin Intermediate staff is a merger of Murray, McNair and Irwin schools. Charlie Council was principal of Murray and now holds the same job at Irwin.

"Unless you have lived through closing out a school, moving to a new school and getting things set up and ready to go, you have no idea what goes on," Council said at the dedication ceremony.

"I would also tell you that if you are given the opportunity to do that, think about it long and hard," Council said.


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