Cumberland County schools to request state grant to build new high school

Hannah Lee

The Cumberland County Board of Education Committee Meetings will occur on Thursday morning. During the finance committee meeting, board members will discuss approving a grant application to help build a new school that would replace E.E. Smith High School.
E.E. Smith High SchoolE.E. Smith High School

The new school would be 255,500 square feet and would hold 1,600 students. The school would provide a standard facility space with room for outdoor programs.

The grant request states that E.E. Smith High School's current facility does not meet current standards. It is structurally, educationally and mechanically inadequate. The school also does not meet ADA requirements. The original facility was built in 1953 with nine different additions.

The campus does not meet recommended North Carolina Department of Public Instruction standards. 50 of the classrooms are below standards, the current site is only 27.3 acres versus the recommended 56 acres, and students have to cross a street to access one of the outdoor fields.

This school was identified as a 2020-2021 Facility Needs Survey.

No advanced planning has been done yet for this replacement building, but the county expects construction to start on June 1, 2025 and to be finished by June 1, 2027.

The total amount being requested by the Board of Education is $50,000,000. The total project will cost $95,000,000. The other $45,000,000 would be acquired from County Capital Funds and possibly a military grant as E.E. Smith High School is zoned for current Fort Bragg High School students.

The Needs-Based School Capital Fund was established to assist counties with their critical public school building capital needs. The grants are funded with revenue from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

The committee meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

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Hannah Lee is a freelance journalist who covers local politics in Cumberland County, North Carolina, true crime, parenting trends, and recent studies in psychology.

Fort Bragg, NC

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