March 26, 2017
A major school construction project kicks off April 7 when Arapahoe Charter School hosts a community groundbreaking and the start of construction on a new $8.9 million facility.
It begins on the campus at 1:30 p.m. to celebrate 20 years as the area’s only public regional school of choice. The community is invited to the groundbreaking event, at 9005 N.C. 306, Arapahoe.
The project is funded by a combination of investments from Arapahoe Charter School and Tideland EMC, in addition to a USDA Rural Development loan.
“This building project means a continuation of quality education through love, genuine care and concern, and a familial atmosphere. As a student, ACS helped raise me. I was there from the conception, as both a student and a teacher’s kid,” said Jaclyn Jones, a teacher at the school.
“I have deep feelings for what ACS stands for and the positive impact it is making on students and families in Eastern North Carolina and the innovation in learning that we, as ACS, welcome from our staff, which is second to none,” said David Gaskins, who has served on ACS board of directors for eight years, five as chairman. “We have brought exceptional results, not just in Pamlico County but in Eastern North Carolina as ACS has truly become a regional school of choice that is well regarded throughout the state.”
Since 1997, Arapahoe Charter School has provided a learning environment with individualized instruction and family atmosphere that is unique among both Pamlico County and surrounding counties schools, he said.
According to school officials, “Enrollment has doubled in the 20 years since its creation, in part because its academic excellence and supportive learning environment have attracted students beyond Pamlico County.”
Of its 520 students, more than half come from outside county school systems. Five years ago, in response to parent requests, a high school program was added that would provide classes from kindergarten through high school.
With a projected graduation rate of 96 percent, school programs have grown and developed, but the physical facilities have not, school officials said.
The facility will have 18 classrooms, three exceptional children’s rooms, a media center and a new cafeteria and kitchen.
When it comes to building new facilities, charter schools do not receive state or county tax dollars.
The brick-and-mortar facility will replace the 20-year-old original structure, which was a composite of relocatable modular units, with an outside façade.
The school gymnasium will not be affected by the building project.
The school gets varying amounts of local current expense funds from Pamlico, Craven and Beaufort counties, which have students enrolled. In the past, there have been students from Carteret and Jones counties. The bulk of local funding is from Pamlico County, which provides most of the students.
Planning for the new facility began as a natural progression of needing more classroom space with the gradual addition of high school grades 9 through 12, beginning in the 2011-12 school year.
The first ninth-grade was in 2012-13, with the other grades following in 2014-15 through the present.
Arapahoe is classified as a public charter conversion school.