Five North Carolina public school districts in economically distressed areas will be receiving approximately $60 million in grant funds for construction of new school buildings.
The news was announced by former N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson prior to his term ending in early January.
The monies will be disbursed to the districts from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.
In a press release, Johnson said, "This is the fourth year and the second time [in 2020] that these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities. These grants will help address our state's need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments."
The N.C. General Assembly created the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund using a combination of revenue from the North Carolina Education Lottery and a local dollar match. In Tier 1, the most distressed areas, the match is $1 for every $3 in grant funds. In Tier 2, the match is one-to one. The maximum grant amount per project is $15 million in Tier 1 counties and $10 million in Tier 2 counties.
The five districts are Bladen, Carteret, Catawba, Cleveland and Harnett counties.
Johnson's press release included the following dollar amounts and details of the construction projects planned in each area:
- Bladen County: $15 million to build a new pre-K through 8th grade middle school to replace two existing facilities and combine them on one campus. The buildings to be replaced include a middle school that is more than 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 space at West Carteret High School; a new multipurpose gymnatorium at White Oak Elementary School; new classrooms and a 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's 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 Needs Based Public School Capital Fund has awarded a total of $358.9 million to 31 local school districts since 2016. Projects funded include the replacement of 31 existing schools and the creation of 36 new schools or school buildings.