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Final Walk-Thru at West Lenoir Elementary

The public is invited to a final farewell at West Lenoir Elementary School on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 2 pm to 4 pm. The school opened in 1935 and will close effective June 30, 2022.

Visitors may drop in, visit the school, and leisurely walk the campus. A short program will commence at 3 pm in the auditorium. Light refreshments will be served.

Anyone who has a favorite memory of West Lenoir Elementary may send it to Leslie Hawkins, media specialist, at westlenoirmemories@gmail.com  who is compiling a memory book.

More about West Lenoir Elementary and School Closure:

The school was built in 1934-35 as part of the Public Works Administration Program. When it first opened in September 1935, it had 12 teachers. It also included an office for the principal, a small room for the library, and an auditorium that would seat approximately 500. The auditorium had a concrete floor, but the walls and the overhead were not finished (this later became the cafeteria). By 1939, there were 430 children enrolled in grades one through five. In 1951, a four-room addition was constructed.* The Most American Thing: A History of Education in Caldwell County, North Carolina by John O. Hawkins
 
The total area of this eighty-six-year-old (86) two-building complex constructed and renovated is 43,327 SF. (McKissick Architecture report)
 
The Caldwell County School practical programming capacity of the building is 284 students and 277 using the North Carolina Department of Education’s methodology.  Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year was 144 pupils in grades 3 to 5 yielding a 50.7% utilization rate. The current enrollment is 135 students. The school shares an area enrollment with Valmead Elementary School, which is also at 50 percent capacity, enrolling 152 students in grades K-2. 
 
Associate Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Dr. Jeff Chruch presented a plan for the consolidation of West Lenoir and Valmead Elementary during a public meeting on March 2, 2022. After a comprehensive sustainability analysis, the study concluded that Valmead and West Lenoir were both operating at 50% capacity or less. A consolidation would yield a savings of $130,000 over time. Students would not be affected within their attendance area due to the vertical alignment of shared grade levels. The Board of Education met with the faculty and staff at each school site and discussed continued projections of slowed student enrollment and growth provided by the NC Council of Governments. The School Board approved a resolution on March 14, 2022, to close West Lenor Elementary School effective June 30, 2022. 
 
Principals at West Lenoir include Jacob E. Cobb, Charles H. Abel, L.B. Robinson, Lawton Jackson Blackwell, John Wonsavage, G.N. Kincaid, John Farmer, J.B. Pennell, Lewis Wright, Nancy Dowdy, Donna Kimball, Chris Ackerman, Felicia Simmons, Kristy Hollar, Amy Braswell Lowman, Travis Gillespie and current principal Cathy Barlow.