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Federal stimulus dollars will put the new Rolesville Middle School on track for a 2012 opening.
Wake County school leaders plan to use $34.6 million in interest-free bonds that the federal government made available nationally for school construction, repair and renovation.
Without the stimulus money, Rolesville Middle would open in 2013.
"The money is needed to help with middle school overcrowding in that part of the county," said Joe Desormeaux, the school system's assistant superintendent for facilities.
The school board was expected Tuesday, after the publication deadline for this edition, to approve the new timeline to open Rolesville Middle for the 2012-13 school year.
To be built on Burlington Mills Road near U.S. 401, Rolesville Middle originally was scheduled to open for the 2011-12 school year.
Funding for Rolesville Middle was included in a $970 million school construction bond issue voters approved in 2006. But the credit-draining economic recession has limited the county's ability to sell the bonds.
In response to the recession, the school board had voted in August to push Rolesville Middle's opening back two years to the 2013-14 school year.
The federal stimulus money will allow Rolesville Middle to now open only one year past the original scheduled opening.
But Rolesville Middle's first occupants could be high school students.
School administrators have warned that abandoning the Forest Ridge High School site in northeast Raleigh to pursue an alternative in Rolesville could delay the new high school by two years to 2014.
To help deal with potential high school overcrowding from a delay, Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles has suggested using Rolesville Middle initially to hold high school students.
But Chuck Dulaney, the school system's assistant superintendent for growth and planning, says not opening Rolesville Middle for its intended purpose would worsen crowding at Heritage and Wake Forest-Rolesville middle schools.
In the meantime, school leaders are working out the final details for the school's site plan.
Eagles told school board members last week that they didn't need to build a second multipurpose athletic field for Rolesville Middle. Eliminating the field would save $670,000, which Desormeaux said will help because it looks as if road improvements costs will be higher than projected.
Eagles also backed off from the town's initial request that the school system pay to provide a greenway at the school. Wake doesn't normally provide greenways but instead leaves it up to the municipalities. Some school board members said they were concerned about setting a precedent by providing the $100,000 greenway.
School board members said they appreciated Rolesville's help.
"Eagles is on the cutting edge," said Debra Goldman, the board's vice chairwoman. "He's putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to helping us."