$60 Million Awarded To 5 School Districts
North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Thursday 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this year that these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities,” Johnson said. “These grants will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments.“
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.