North Carolina Construction News staff writer
Nine North Carolina school districts have been awarded more than $300 million in new state lottery-funded grant awards to complete capital improvements.
Among the projects to be funded by the grants, aimed at districts in economically distressed counties, are seven new or replacement school buildings, including three high schools, two schools combining middle and high school grades, an intermediate school for upper elementary and middle school grades and a Career and Technical Education Center. Some of these districts receiving the grants were hardest hit by natural disasters like flooding and an earthquake.
More than 164 grant applications worth $2.4 billion were received from 72 districts across the state.
The grants, awarded under the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund, are in addition to the state’s two other lottery-supported capital funds – the Public School Building Capital Fund and the Public School Building Repair and Renovation Fund – from which all 115 districts in North Carolina receive allocations each year.
Eighteen other school districts that were awarded grants last year from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund are receiving directed grants from the program totaling $134.8 million approved by the General Assembly as part of the 2022-23 state budget. These 18 districts had received 80% of their initial request, and the additional funds represent the 20% difference.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said the needs-based grants are helping districts across North Carolina with fewer local resources ensure that all students benefit from the best possible learning environments.
“Many students in North Carolina attend schools built decades ago,” Truitt said. “These grants are paying for schools designed and built for the 21st century. Today’s students, regardless of where they live and attend school, deserve nothing less.”
Funding for individual projects is capped at $30 million for an elementary school project, $40 million for a middle school project and $50 million for a high school.
Grant applications were reviewed by the Department of Public Instruction in accordance with priorities provided in the law, including ability to generate revenue, high debt-to-tax revenue ratio, consolidation and replacement of multiple existing facilities, and the extent to which a project will address “critical deficiencies”.
Grants awarded for fiscal year 2022-23:
- $47 million: Alleghany County / Alleghany County Schools to replace existing high school
- $50 million: Cherokee County / Cherokee County Schools for new high school to replace three existing high schools
- $9.8 million: Gates County / Gates County Schools for addition and renovations at Gates County High School
- $50 million: Greene County / Greene County Schools to replace existing high school
- $50 million: Halifax County / Weldon City Schools to build new school replacing two existing schools
- $8.3 million: Hyde County / Hyde County Schools for addition and renvations at Mattamuskeet PK-12 school
- $50 million: Pamlico County / Pamlico County Schools for new 6-12 school replacing two existing schools
- $36.9 million: Perquimans County / Perquimans County Schools for ew 3-8 intermediate school that will replace two existing schools
- $350,000: Tyrrell County / Tyrrell County Schools for new CTE (Career Technical Education) center