Mooresville Graded School District Board Chair Greg Whitfield and Mayor Chris Carney presided over a joint meeting of the town board and MGSD board on Tuesday, pledging to work together and communicate about issues affecting the school system and town.

South Magnolia Street Safety

Transportation Engineer Camile Weckerly presented safety study recommendations to improve the safety of Mooresville High School students who cross South Magnolia Street several times each day to attend classes at the Magnolia campus.

One idea presented asked MGSD to evaluate the need for temporary street closures during main crossing times, using temporary road closure signs and/or working with the Mooresville Police Department to direct traffic at traffic signal intersections.

Weckerly also suggested MGSD develop a parent and student education program that focuses on fostering a culture of safety and shared responsibility among parents, students, and staff.

Options discussed included installing “SCHOOL” pavement marking on southbound Magnolia just south of East Center Avenue ($2,000). Installing high-visibility crosswalks at all locations, including traffic signal intersections, is another short-term proposal ($2,500).

Other town actions could include acquiring additional street lighting through Duke Energy ($1,500), installing “No Student Dropoff” signs along South Magnolia to help enforce school policy ($500), adding “left-turn only” pavement marking on southbound Magnolia lane into the student parking lot ($2,000), and adding “State Law Yield for Pedestrians within Crosswalk” signs at the main crosswalk ($3,000).

Most of these could be in place before next school year, said Weckerly.

Long-term solutions offered for consideration over the next two to three years include MGSD installing permanent fencing to eliminate mid-block crossing and to prevent street parent drop-off ($25,000 to $75,000) and purchasing Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) ($40,000) with passive detection that would not require hitting a crosswalk button.

Long-term options under town responsibility include installing and maintaining the RRFBs at the main crossings so that all four activate together. The town also proposes closing and removing the current “minor” crosswalk to funnel all students to the main crosswalk.

Another proposal is to install elevated crosswalks with raised intersections. Weckerly also suggested considering changeable signs and signal displays at both the East Center and Cabarrus Avenue to restrict movement onto South Magnolia.

Another possibility was installing signal and sign controls to be under the town’s Traffic Management Center currently being organized ($25,000 per intersection).

MGSD Board member Debbie Marsh advocated for stronger speed limit enforcement and installation of speed calming bumps along Magnolia to the elementary school, citing speeding throughout the area, but concerns with emergency vehicles make that proposal unlikely.

Weckerly noted the proposed elevated crosswalks would have a similar effect near the high school.

MGSD Board member Rakeem Brawley expressed safety concerns about funneling all students to one crosswalk and about school evacuation issues in the event of an emergency.

Traffic arms like at railroad crossings were also mentioned to block the street during class changes, but Weckerly said they were not considered feasible.

Other ideas were warning signs about temporary Magnolia Street closures that would allow drivers to choose alternative routes.

Marsh noted that traffic safety was not the only consideration. The system is in the midst of a system-wide safety study, so any decisions on Magnolia Street improvements must be considered in conjunction with their effect on overall school and student safety.

Greenway Concern

A proposed greenway, eventually joining Cornelius Road and Liberty Park, on Mooresville’s Safe Routes to School plan has caused some concerns among MGSD board members. Town Planner Erika Martin said the town hoped to get grant funds for the long-term greenway project.

The updated 2021 Safe Routes to School plan preceded the Selma Burke Middle School site, so to adhere with the plan, part of the greenway was constructed on the western side of the Selma Burke Middle School at a cost of $400,000.

However, several board members are concerned that a public use greenway that close to the school is a safety and security issue and objected to it adjoining the campus. They felt that town officials had not clearly communicated about this project with school officials.

Assistant Superintendent Michael Royal did interject that the original design would have gone right through campus and that officials had accommodated the school site plan by moving the greenway on its plan to the western edge of the property.

Martin presented three options to address design concerns. Option one was to abandon the existing greenway segment on campus and build a sidewalk without curb and gutter along Rinehardt Road instead.

This option (estimated to cost $1 million) would require obtaining right-of-way from multiple property owners and would also abandon the $400,000 SBMS segment.

A second option is to maintain the status quo with no bridge connection being built by a nearby residential project’s developer, as is currently planned. This option would endanger children walking to school and cause more cars being on the road since parents will likely drive their children to the school.

Option three is to proceed with building the connecting bridge, move a portion of the proposed greenway to follow along Rinehardt Road that eventually joins with the constructed section, and adding a separation fence along the greenway section that adjoins the SBMS campus to increase security. This option would provide a safe way for children to walk to school, added Martin.

Since the SBMS section is built, Martin said option three allows for a partnership between MGSD, the town, and the nearby developer. Mooresville would realign the greenway, pay up to $125,000 for bridge construction, and pay and install the fence along the SBMS property.

The developer would build the greenway to the creek crossing and pay for the remaining bridge costs.

MGSD Board member Kerry Pennell strongly objected to the greenway’s proximity to SBMS, saying that existing greenways sometimes attract persons exhibiting undesirable behaviors and that a fence was not enough to ensure student safety.


Mooresville currently has 72 active development projects, with 3,268 single family homes under construction, along with 6,452 multi-family units.

A new website is available where residents can see various residential and commercial projects on a map and click to get more information on active projects, including condos, mixed use, mixed-use residential, and various multi-family residential projects.

The website ( shows the overall growth picture.

Superintendent Jason Gardner asked if the school system could get quarterly updates on projects for its own planning purposes for space and staffing needs.

Staff said the town is looking at ordinances to lower allowed density to address growth.

However, town board members noted affordable housing for essential employees such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters is much needed, and that price point is often achieved through higher density housing options. He noted that many Mooresville workers currently commute in, causing more traffic woes.

Mayor Carney said the town is being more upfront with developers about what the town is looking for to avoid wasted time and effort on both sides.

Mitchell Community College

MCC President Tim Brewer presented a recently completed long-range campus expansion plan, though he noted no funds were currently available to fund the plan. Plans included new buildings and a refurbished Mooresville Motor Company building.

Brewer also expressed interest in establishing an early college with MGSD, pointing out that Iredell-Statesville has several of these successful programs.

Other ideas being discussed are establishing a business incubator program and establishing a trades education program in conjunction with MGSD, the Christian Mission, and large employers such as Lowe’s.

“We have to create a great vision for the future,” said Brewer.