Wolf Meadow Elementary History
Wolf Meadow Elementary School opened in the August of 1975. The land, about thirty-five acres, was purchased by Cabarrus County from Mr. Morris. The property is surrounded on all sides by the Running M. Ranch. Wolf Meadow Elementary was built to address the increase in the number of students in the county. Students came from Hartsell School (K-8th grade), Harrisburg School, and Odell School districts. The majority of the students came from Hartsell due to it becoming a Middle School serving 7th and 8th grades only. At the time of opening, Wolf Meadow School District was bounded on the east by Concord City limits. The southern boundary was Hwy 49. In the north the district extended in places as far as Hwy. 73. Roberta Church Rd. and a line extended roughly north from its intersection with Hwy 29 to Hwy. 73 formed the western boundary of the district. The district was largely urban and suburban in nature although the school itself was situated in a rather isolated position near the western edge of the district. There were two large textile mills in the community, a variety of small businesses scattered throughout, and several small shopping centers. Five of the major highways ran through the district. In 1975, many of the houses in the community were mill houses, old, and needing repair. Many of the houses in the community were built years ago by the mills. Some were individually owned. There were also six fairly large mobile home parks. Some were owned by families while others were rental property. There was no housing boom at the time. Most of the open land in the district was farms and cattle ranches. Mr. Swaringen was the principal for the first two years. He had been the former principal of Hartsell. One unique fact about Wolf Meadow is that is was the first school in Cabarrus County to be built on a single level. Therefore, all the students in the county with disabilities K-6 were invited to attend Wolf Meadow for ease of movement. Another interesting fact was that the only furniture that was purchased for the school was the media center and cafeteria furniture. All other furniture was donated from the other schools that were transferring students to Wolf Meadow. Wolf Meadow opened the first year with 918 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. All classrooms were full of children. Music classes took place on the stage and all the small offices were used for speech, EC, counselor, and office staff. Demographics of the student population in 1976 was one Native American child, one Hispanic child, one hundred twenty-two African American children, and eight hundred thirty-two Caucasian students. Title 1 funds was were used to create a special reading program to help about fifty students in grades first through third who were having severe reading difficulties. This program supplemented the regular classroom reading program. Also the Head Start program served forty five year olds at Wolf Meadow.
Mr. Richard Swaringen (1974-1976)
In 1976, Mr. Swaringen retired and was replaced with Mr. L. Don Hoyle. He served as principal until 1988. Mr. Hoyle was principal at Wolf Meadow Elementary School during the time that the county was experiencing changes in population growth, mills closing, and a housing boom. A new manufacturer, Phillip Morris Inc., purchased a large parcel of farm land and cattle ranches next to school property in order to build their new facility. As part of the deal, they were allowed to buy the entrance road to the school. This lead the county to have to find another entrance which was chosen off of Roberta Rd. A newer housing development, Old South, had been built on the back side of the school property. The county only needed to build a short road to connect the school parking lot to the neighborhood entrance. In 1978, Phillip Morris added to the school property by donating seventeen acres. The school campus currently is 52 acres.
Mr. L.Don Hoyle (1976-1988)
From 1975 until the spring of 1980, membership remained in the range of 900 students. As a result of some redistricting in the late spring of 1980, our student body dropped to around 725 members. The northern and western boundaries of the district changed. The western boundary was extended to Pitt School Rd. south of Hwy 29. The northern boundary stops at the Liske Ave. on Hwy 29. The southern boundary of Hwy 49 took in two subdivisions not previously in our attendance district. To the southwest the district was bounded by Stough Rd. and Roberta Mill Community. The district size remained the same although decreased the number of students by about 175. Students along the previous northern border were redistricted to Winecoff School. The change in district lines were expected to increase attendance growth over the years due to two new areas with a high potential for population growth. Phillip Morris Cigarette Facility adjacent to the school property was expected to employ 2500 persons and create improved economic conditions and population growth in the area. During the 1980s, Wolf Meadow experienced increased school and classroom volunteerism and a very active PTO. The average age of the parents was 20-40 years. Educational achievement of the majority of fathers was high school graduate. Less than 1% was above high school. Eighty-six percent of our parent population was Caucasian. Approximately twelve percent was African American with other minorities making up a very small percent of the population. Forty-six percent of fathers worked in either textile mills or construction work. Fifty-four percent of mothers were employed full time and about seven percent were employed part time. Income range from the majority of our families was from $5,000-$20,000. Seventy percent of the families owned or were buying their homes. The majority of our parents were married. Seventy-two percent of the students lived with their natural parents or an adoptive parent. In the 1980s, the Title 1 reading program expanded to include grades one through six who were experiencing difficulties in reading. Several other programs were offered during this time frame as well: a learning disabilities program, speech and language, educable mentally handicapped, primary detection, and gifted and talented enrichment program.
Mr. Allen Small (1988-1992)
Mr. Allen Small became the principal in the fall of 1988. Mrs. Patricia Smith was appointed the Assistant Principal. During his tenure, Cabarrus County built a new middle school to replace Hartsell. The new middle school, J.N. Fries, named after a past superintendent of Cabarrus County, would house sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from the district. This change moved the sixth graders out of Wolf Meadow Elementary and created a K-5 school.