The bond package includes funding to build a western campus of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM West) at a cost of $58 million on state-owned property in Burke County. Planning and construction estimates are a three- to four-year timeline, beginning with an inclusive planning process with local and statewide stakeholders to set the program focus, determining the facility needs based on that program, then building and staffing a new school.
Why is this particular project important to NCSSM?
“A second campus for North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics allows us to meet the needs of more talented young North Carolinians who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Each year we turn away qualified student applicants to our residential program in Durham because of our fixed capacity for 680 students between the two class years, juniors and seniors."
How does the selected project help meet NCSSM’s stated educational goals?
“Our school’s 2012-2017 strategic plan set as one of our objectives to find ways to reach more students and expand STEM educational opportunities for students and educators across North Carolina. Between our residential, online, and interactive videoconferencing programs, we’ve set a goal of reaching one million students and 100,000 teachers in North Carolina by 2017.”
What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?
“The local community surrounding a new NCSSM campus stands to benefit from all of the economic activity generated by several hundred students, their families, and 100-plus faculty and staff members who live near the campus or visit at regular intervals. The new campus opens partnership possibilities with nearby institutions —K-12 schools, community colleges, university campuses, area businesses, and nonprofit organizations — for research collaborations, internship placements, course-sharing, teacher professional development, and more.”
What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?
“With this proposed expansion, the NC General Assembly is demonstrating its support of our school’s mission of educating more talented young students across the state and in doing so, is helping to prepare more North Carolinians to participate in and lead the growth of our state’s economy. We appreciate this affirmation of our work and its value in building a stronger, more vibrant North Carolina.”
Retraction notice: We apologize that an earlier version of this interview contained inaccurate information about school programming and residency, which the UNC staff inadvertently added from outdated planning documents. The planning process around programming, residency, admissions and more for the proposed western campus is in the initial stages and will involve participation from NCSSM and community stakeholders.