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The Voice of the Black Community


Tab for upgrading schools: $293M
CMS proposes 4 new schools, 3 replacements
Published Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:53 am
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has rolled out a $293 million capital improvement plan that would build four new schools and replace three others.

The district’s capital outlay, presented on April 23, encompasses 18 projects over 27 schools, including campus renovations and conversions to relieve overcrowding and boost science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, magnet schools and middle colleges.

“These projects are critical to help our students, and our schools, move forward,” school board Chair Mary McCray said. “These capital projects are 18 of the 142 projects on our 10-year Capital Needs Assessment, which totals $1.8 billion. We hope that our colleagues on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners will recognize the urgency of these needs and fund them with bond money.”

County commissioners will review the plan before voting on whether to a referendum on the November ballot. Commissioners have signaled its willingness to sell $300 million in bonds over a three-year period with proceeds split between CMS and Central Piedmont Community College.

“These capital projects will bring tremendous benefits to our students and help us better prepare them to graduate college- or career-ready,” CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison said. “The projects and their benefits are spread across the district. With so many of our schools built more than 50 years ago, the need for renovations, additions and upfits is urgent. We also are continuing to grow each year, and the new schools and repurposed schools will help us ease overcrowding.”

Under the CMS proposal, the former Oakhurst Elementary, a casualty of the district’s 2011 campus closings, would be reopened as a STEAM magnet school. Another closed campus, Starmount, would reopen to relieve overcrowded Montclaire and Huntingtowne Farms elementaries. The cost of upfitting Oakhurst and Starmount is $5.5 million.

Four new schools would be built for $87.1 million: a pair of K-8 magnets, a Pre-K-8 school ($27.2 million each) and a new middle-college school building ($5.5 million) on a CPCC campus.

Three schools built in the 1950s would be replaced for $64.4 million: J.M. Alexander Middle ($28.4 million), Nations Ford Elementary ($18 million) and Statesville Road ($18 million).

The second phase of Pre-K-8 conversions at six elementary schools would be funded with $22.9 million. Those campuses are Ashley Park, Bruns Avenue, Walter G. Byers, Druid Hills, Reid Park and Westerly Hills. Davidson Elementary would be converted to a K-8 facility at a cost of $7 million.

The remaining $113.1 million would be used for renovations, additions and CTE program enhancements at existing high schools, except for Northridge Middle and Selwyn Elementary.


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