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State Superintendent Mark Johnson Announces $60 Million in School Construction Grants to Five Districts

North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced that $60 million in grant funds from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund will be awarded this year to school districts in Bladen, Carteret, Catawba, Cleveland, and Harnett counties. The grant awards will allow for construction of new school buildings in these economically distressed areas.

 

“This is the fourth year and the second time this year that these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities,” Johnson said.“These grants will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments.“

 

Awards include:

 

Bladen County: $15 million to build a new Pre-K through 8th grade middle school to replace two existing schools and combine them on one campus. The buildings to be replaced include a middle school that is 100+ years old and a primary school that is 69 years old. ($22 million total project cost).

 

Carteret County: $10 million to build new classrooms, dining, science, band, and gymnasium at West Carteret High School, a new multipurpose gymnatorium at White Oak Elementary School, new classrooms and gymnasium at Croatan High School, a new gymnasium at East Carteret High School and a 14-classroom addition at Broad Creek Middle School ($24.6 million total project cost).
Catawba County (Newton-Conover City Schools): $10 million to build a new academic wing at Newton-Conover High School to replace a building that was originally constructed in 1964. ($20.8 million total cost).
Cleveland County:  $15 million to build a 900-seat auditorium on the campus of Burns High School and a new 900-seat auditorium at Crest High School.  ($20 million total cost).
Harnett County: $10 million to build a new Northwest Harnett Elementary School to accommodate a 950-student enrollment capacity. The school will be Pre-K through 5.  ($37.5 million total project cost).

 

The fund was created by the General Assembly to assist school districts in lower-wealth counties through revenue from the North Carolina Education Lottery. Awards are capped at $15 million per project in Tier 1 (most distressed) counties and $10 million per project in Tier 2 counties. The law requires a local match of $1 for every $3 in grant funds in Tier 1 and $1 for every $1 in Tier 2. The fund was created to assist lower-wealth counties with their critical public school building capital needs.
County applications were reviewed based on priorities provided in the law, including ability to generate revenue, high debt-to-tax revenue ratio, and the extent to which a project will address critical deficiencies in adequately serving the current and future student population.
An emphasis was placed on projects that were far enough along in the planning process that construction could begin within 12 months.
“I look forward to seeing these projects get under way in the coming months,” said Superintendent Johnson. “I thank the General Assembly for making these funds available to help schools in areas that are most in need.”
Over the last four years, the Needs Based Public School Capital Fund has awarded a total of $ 358.9 million dollars to 31 local school districts, resulting in 36 new schools or buildings and the replacement of 31 existing schools.
LOCAL QUOTES FOLLOW
CARTERET COUNTY
“The Carteret County Board of Commissioners and administrators appreciate the award of these grant funds,” Ed Wheatly, Chair of the Carteret County Commissioners, said. “The County supported the school system’s efforts to submit these grant applications. The awarded grant funds will further support the Commissioners’ commitment to funding the school system. We are very proud of our public school system and of all those who work to meet the needs of our county’s students.”
Ed Wheatly, Chair
Carteret County Board of Commissioners

“The Carteret County Board of Education is very grateful to our administrative team for seeking out and securing this $10 million dollar grant,” Clark Jenkins, Chair of the Carteret County Commissioners, said. “It will go a long way towards meeting the facility needs we have across Carteret County. Our County Commissioners and community have been very supportive of providing needed facility upgrades for our campuses as evidenced by the recent passage of the School Construction bond. This funding through the Needs-Based School Capital fund is much appreciated and much needed. I am grateful for the foresight of the North Carolina General Assembly for creating this grant opportunity for school districts and for State Superintendent Johnson and his team for selecting our school system for this award.”
Clark Jenkins, Chair
Carteret County Board of Education

CATAWBA COUNTY
“On behalf of the Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education as well as the students and staff of Newton-Conover High School, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Superintendent Johnson for our selection to receive $10 million in needs-based capital funding. This is a true game-changer for this high school and for our municipal partners in the cities of Newton and Conover as well. I am excited that the innovation that is taking place inside the academic wing will in the future be housed inside a building that will reflect that same innovation. In a year that has been short on hope and optimism, this notification is a sign that there is indeed hope and that brighter days are in store in the coming years if we will stay the course and keep our focus on students.”
Dr. Aron Gabriel, Superintendent
Newton Conover City Schools

CLEVELAND COUNTY
“Cleveland County Schools is extremely excited to learn we have been awarded the Needs-Based School Capital funds for the Auditorium projects at Burns High School and Crest High School.  We are appreciative for the opportunity provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, as well as the continued support of the State Board of Education and the North Carolina General Assembly.  We look forward to the opportunities to enhance our school campuses and educational opportunities for our students.  As we continue to partner with local leaders and the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners, these projects will continue to make Cleveland County a great place to live, work, learn and play.”
Dr. Stephen Fisher, Superintendent
Cleveland County Schools

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 984-236-2000.

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