The planned new K-8 school for East Columbus will now become a reality.
In a press conference this morning in Whiteville, Rep. Brenden Jones and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt announced today (Monday) that Columbus County has qualified for a $52 million needs-based grant to build a new school adjacent to East Columbus that will serve younger students.
The money comes from the State Education Lottery fund, Truitt said.
Out of the $1 billion in grant requests received by the State Dept. of Public Instruction this year, Truitt said only $260 million was available. She noted that among the criteria to qualify for the needs based grant was evidence that a school system has the support of its citizenry.
“There have been cases where money has been returned because they couldn’t come to an agreement,” Truitt said. “I’m confident that won’t be the case here.”
Jones thanked the school board, county commissioners and county administration for their support in pursuing the grant.
“I have always said education is an investment in economic development,” he said. “Good schools help produce a good workforce, and attract new residents to our county. This as badly needed.”
The planned school will consolidate Hallsboro Artesia and Acme-Delco Primary. Acme-Delco Middle was already moved to East Columbus High School (creating East Columbus Junior-Senior) in anticipation of future consolidation. The schools at Hallsboro and Acme-Delco date back to the 1950s and 60s.
“Consolidation is a hard thing for many communities,” Triuitt said. “It’s not to be taken lightly, but sometimes it creates a better learning, safer environment for students.
The new school will serve students kindergarten through eighth grade. Preliminary plans are to build it in close proximity to the current ECHS.
This is a developing story.
You can watch the full video of the morning’s press conference on the CCN Facebook page.