Commissioners OK Old Cove Creek School repairs
by Anna Oakes
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the use of approximately $7,000 in county funds to work to improve drainage problems at the old Cove Creek School property in Sugar Grove.
Watauga County owns the WPA-era building, the site of the former Cove Creek High School. The school closed in 1995, and in 1996, Cove Creek Preservation and Development formed to preserve the structure for community purposes. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jack Simpson, a CCP&D board member, appeared before the commissioners Tuesday to explain the drainage problems at the property and request assistance from the county. He said CCP&D would take responsibility for an estimated $57,000 cost of drying and conditioning the building's 9,000-square-foot crawl space, but the organization asked the county to resolve the exterior drainage issues.
"Much of the underneath moisture problem results form surface drainage issues in back of the building," a CCP&D memo said. "The drainage issues have been exacerbated over the years by construction projects on and around the historic stone structure. These projects were done by the county for good reasons at the time but contributed to the present deterioration of the building."
County Manager Deron Geouque said that items to be addressed by the county would include re-grading of the area and removal of a breezeway, with costs estimated at $7,000.
Geouque noted in comments to the Board of Commissioners, however, that "staff concurs that the surface drainage needs to be addressed but will be difficult due to the topography of the property. Additionally, the water issues underneath the building could be a result of wet weather springs."
The next meeting of the commissioners is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21. The meeting typically held on the first Tuesday of each month has been cancelled for January.