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State Superintendent Mark Johnson announces $141 million in school construction grants to 13 districts…including Caldwell County

RALEIGH, NC (October 8, 2018) — North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced that $141 million in grant funds from the Needs-Based Public-School Capital Fund will be awarded this year to school districts in Anson, Ashe, Caldwell, Caswell, Cherokee, Columbus, Martin, McDowell, Mitchell, Nash, Swain and Tyrrell counties. The grant awards will allow for construction of new school buildings in these economically distressed areas.

“Through these grants, we will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments,” Johnson said.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is the second year these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities.”

  • Anson County: $15 million for initial costs for a new Anson Middle School ($49.4 million total project cost)
  • Ashe County: $15 million for a new Ashe County Middle School ($34.9 million total project cost)
  • Caldwell County: $15 million for a new Granite Falls Middle School ($20 million total project cost)
Granite Falls Middle School 08-03-2018
  • Caswell County: $15 million for a new Bartlett Yancey High School ($32 million total project cost)
  • Cherokee County: $15 million for Early College High School, Alternative High School, Career Academy ($20 million total project cost)
  • Columbus County, Columbus County Schools: $10.6 million for West Columbus PK-8 ($19.1 million total project cost)
  • Columbus County, Whiteville City Schools: $4.3 million for new buildings at Whiteville High School ($21.1 million total project cost)
  • Martin County: $5.3 million for a new CTE Center ($7.1 million total project cost)
  • McDowell County: $15 million for a new Old Fort Elementary School ($21.2 million total project cost)
  • Mitchell County: $15 million for a new grades 3-8 elementary school/middle school ($26.5 million total project cost)
  • Nash County, Nash-Rocky Mount: $10 million for a new Red Oaks Elementary School ($20 million total project cost)
  • Swain County: $4.7 million for a new building at Swain High School ($7 million total project cost)
  • Tyrrell County: $637,000 for Columbia High School/Early College ($850,000 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 thank the General Assembly for making these funds available to help schools in areas that are most in need,” Johnson said. “I look forward to seeing these projects get under way in the coming months.”

Rep. Destin Hall stated “Securing these funds for Caldwell County has been a top priority for me during my time in the General Assembly, and I am thrilled with State Superintendent Mark Johnson’s decision to award the $15 million grant to Caldwell County. Maintaining an environment that is conducive to learning is key to educating our children and this grant will make it possible for Caldwell County to replace one of our most outdated school facilities.”

“The Caldwell County Board of Education and the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners have had the replacement of Granite Falls Middle School on the district’s facility plan for over 20 years,” said Dr. Don Phipps, Superintendent of Caldwell County Schools. “Due to budget constraints the project has not been possible. The Board of Education and Board of Commissioners wish to thank our legislators and DPI staff for this opportunity. With the receipt of these grant funds, the county will be able to renovate and replace a school that has served the community well. We are looking forward to building a new facility that will meet the needs of our students for the next 50 years. The BOE and BOC truly appreciate the support and opportunity this grant provides. Without this program, our ability to complete this project would not have been possible. We would like to thank all those involved for their efforts.”

A Public Schools Of North Carolina Press Release