Expanding choices for students and families 
 
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plans to expand educational choices for students as part of its Long-Range Facility Master Plan which was presented to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education March 26.

“The plan aligns proposed capital projects with Goal 6 of The Way Forward, which calls for the district to strengthen and expand educational choices for students to foster learning, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Heath E. Morrison, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “It reflects our commitment to provide a personalized environment of academic excellence that inspires every child to achieve their personal best.”

The plan repurposes Oakhurst, Starmount and the Smith Family Center as fully operating schools.  The Oakhurst facility will become a new K-5 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) magnet school.  Starmount will reopen as an elementary school to relieve overcrowding at Huntingtowne Farms and Montclaire.  The Smith Family Center will become a new full magnet Math and Science High School. 

Other highlights of the top 25 proposed capital projects include:

  • a new Albemarle Road K-8 Dual Language Magnet
  • a new classroom building on a Central Piedmont Community College campus to expand the middle college program
  • greater access to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs across the district
  • a new South K-8 STEAM Magnet
  • expanded language immersion thru K-12 at E.E. Waddell Language Academy
  • Mountain Island Elementary K-8 STEM transition
  • new replacement schools for J.M. Alexander, Nations Ford, Berryhill and Statesville Road
  • a new elementary school to provide J.H. Gunn and Lebanon Road relief
  • major additions and renovations at schools across the district

The top 25 proposed projects will require $400 million in capital funding.  They will also alleviate major areas of overcrowding, address aging facility issues and reduce the district’s use of mobiles to accommodate expected student enrollment growth of about 2% annually.

“CMS plans for the capital needs of the district over a 10 year horizon to help drive cost efficiencies,” said Board of Education Chairperson Mary McCray. “We are highlighting our top 25 capital projects because Mecklenburg county managers have indicated they will likely pursue a three year bond in the fall.”

CMS staff considered a range of factors to assess the district’s capital needs such as school overcapacity rankings, facility conditions, health and safety and whether the project required structural repair. The factors were organized and put into a matrix, then scored and ranked. 

Capital projects for the school district are typically funded with bonds issued by Mecklenburg County. In 2007, voters approved a $516 million bond issue for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. All the projects funded by that bond have been completed on time (where funding was available) and at or under budget. The remaining capital projects will proceed on schedule per funding availability.