SESP Construction Photo Gallery
We would like to thank everyone in our community for providing their feedback on the naming of the Southern Elementary School Project.
In a special meeting on February 26, the Onslow County Board of Education unanimously approved Coastal Elementary School as the official name for the new school coming to the southern part of Onslow County.
Board members and OCS staff discussed the importance of giving the school a name which would reflect and honor the community’s culture and heritage. Other potential names for the school included some of the communities and municipalities local to that area. However, Board members and staff emphasized the need to choose a name inclusive of the many communities the school will serve, including Holly Ridge, Folkstone, Turkey Creek and more.
In their recommendation to the Board, staff wrote, “The name of Coastal Elementary School encompasses the coastal environment and heritage that is part of all the communities in the Stump Sound Township.”
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Southern Elementary School Project
OCS Historical Growth
Onslow County is situated on the east coast of North Carolina and is the proud home of US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the largest amphibious Marine base in the world. Officially established in 1734, Onslow County encompasses over 767 square miles and has a population of over 177,000 people according to the 2010 US Census - an increase of over 82% over the past 40 years.
Onslow County Schools is the 11th largest district in the state of North Carolina with over 27,000 students currently enrolled. The district has 39 educational facilities, including 20 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 7 high schools, an early college high school, an early childhood development center, an alternative learning program, and the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. On average, our district has increased by 300 plus students per year. To address this ongoing growth, the district makes use of a 10-year construction plan, which gives the district an idea of where the county is heading and ample time to make plans to get there.
Over the past few years, Onslow’s growth has been largely concentrated in the southern part of the county. This growth is expected to expedite with the upcoming relocation of MARSOC West to our community. That shift will bring hundreds, if not thousands, of new residents to the southern part of the county, particularly Sneads Ferry and Holly Ridge.
To address this growth, the local board of education worked with the county commissioners on funding to build two new elementary schools. These schools will be built nearly simultaneously, with one scheduled to open in fall 2021 and the other set to open its doors in fall 2022.
In June 2018, three possible architects for the upcoming Southern Elementary School Project, in the Stump Sound area, and the new school in the Catherine Lake area were presented to the Board. The Board unanimously decided to move forward with Pinnacle Architecture, based on staff recommendations. Both new schools will be built based on a prototype design approved by the Board in the summer of 2018. The new Richlands Elementary School, which opened in the fall of 2018, was also based on this prototype and designed by Pinnacle Architecture.
Daniels & Daniels’ bid for the Southern Elementary School Project increases the school’s core capacity to 870 to further alleviate overcrowding and adds a generator to the school so it can be used as a shelter in the event of a hurricane.
As of February 2020, the land for the Southern Elementary School Project has been cleared, an access road has been established, and land grading is well underway.
In December 2018, the Onslow County Board of Education was officially deeded 100 acres of land in the Stump Sound area after purchasing it for $530,000, and the Board was given a donation of 30 acres in the Catherine Lake area in February of 2019.
In the original 10-year plan, the school at Catherine Lake was set to open before the school in Stump Sound. However, looking at the county’s growth trends, the Board saw that there was an immediate need in the Dixon feeder district to address growth and alleviate overcrowding. The Board and county government decided to move up the timeline on the Southern Elementary School Project and build both schools at the same time.
Original estimated budgets for the schools came out to around $22,834,692 for the school in Catherine Lake and about $23,477,610 for the Southern Elementary School Project.
After a bid process in October 2019, the total estimated costs came up to $26,151,000 for the school at Catherine Lake and $27,895,000 for the Southern Elementary School Project. The combined cost for the two schools was higher than expected, due to various factors, including the demand for construction following Hurricane Florence. The costs of the schools exceeded the original bonding request the County submitted to the Local Government Commission for funding. For this reason, the Board decided to award the bid for the school at Stump Sound to the construction company Daniels & Daniels and to come back to the funding, bidding and awarding process for the Catherine Lake school in 2020, delaying the opening of the Catherine Lake school to fall of 2022.
In February 2020, the Board was informed that the county government had presented the proposal for the Catherine Lake school to the LGC again and had received approval to move forward with seeking a loan to begin construction, keeping the school on track to open in 2022.
As of February 2020, the Southern Elementary School Project is still within budget and on schedule.