Grant to help fund new school


Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and Nash County commissioners celebrated a much-needed win after they received news Monday that the school district will be receiving $10 million in grant funding from the state’s Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund. 

Nash County commissioners initiated the grant proposal in 2017 during the first of three rounds of grant awards from the fund. The original grant application proposed the closure of Cedar Grove, Red Oak and Swift Creek elementary schools and the construction of a new state-of-the art elementary school designed to accommodate students from these schools. The schools currently serve students in portions of Rocky Mount, Red Oak, Dortches, Castalia, the Battleboro community and Nashville.

The estimated cost of the new school will be at least $20 million, according to the grant application.

The school district was denied grant funding during the 2017 cycle but was awarded a $10 million grant as part of a $141 million grant package announced Monday by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. The grants were awarded to 13 school districts across the state.

“Through these grants, we will help address our state’s need to replace old, outdated schools with better learning environments,” Johnson said. “This is the second year these funds have been made available to benefit our students and educators who have had to deal with outdated facilities.”

Nash County board Chairman Robbie Davis said he is rejoicing over the news.

“The Nash County commissioners and the Nash-Rocky Mount school board have put a lot of effort in these grant application and I am thrilled with the result,” Davis said. “I frankly thought it would be next year before we would have a chance at receiving the grant.”

Davis said that state Sen. Rick Horner, R-Nash, was instrumental in helping the school district receive the grant.

“It is wonderful news,” Horner told the Telegram. “We are getting more money for schools.”

Horner wrote an enthusiastic letter to the state Department of Public Instruction regarding the news of the grant.

“Nash County has finally hit the jackpot with the North Carolina Education Lottery,” Horner stated in the letter. “These funds will allow us to consolidate three elementary schools, one of which was built in the 1932. The operational efficiencies of this new facility will in turn free up even more local dollars to educate our young people. We’re very happy with this good news.”

Dr. Shelton Jefferies, superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, said he is grateful for the grant money.

“Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools has been engaged in a yearlong public dialogue about the needs specific to our oldest buildings. These facilities are costly to maintain and are not aligned with 21st-century student needs,” Jefferies said. “I wish to thank Superintendent Johnson and the General Assembly for providing this support to our district.”