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News from the Board -- February 5, 2019

In its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 5, the Onslow County Board of Education had two business items on the agenda.  

After a Good News Spotlight segment full of recognitions for arts students, teachers and a former Board member, the Board heard from Lisa Thompson, OCS director of testing and accountability.  

Ms. Thompson shared proposed changes to Board Policy 3410, which addresses the testing and assessment program. All proposed changes were recommended to the Board in an effort to ensure that local policy follows the requirements set forth by state policy. The Board unanimously approved all recommended changes, which included verbiage that would require the district to provide the proper security and administration of all state-required tests, screenings and assessments, both online and in-person, to the extent required by the State Board of Education or the Department of Public Instruction.  

In its second order of business, the Board heard from Randy Baker, of Pinnacle Architecture, an update on the new elementary school projects in the Catherine Lake and Stump Sound communities. Mr. Baker presented to the Board a proposed layout of the schools, which would both be based on the layout of the new Richlands Elementary School. He said that the new schools would have slightly different features from RES, including modified kitchens, which were changed due to staff feedback. Additional options for the schools would be more classrooms and larger core areas such as the multipurpose room and cafeteria. Some of the changes, he said, such as the larger core areas would be to prepare the buildings for use as potential public shelters during future natural disasters.  

The estimated budget, he said, would be around $22,834,692 for the school in Catherine Lake and about $23,477,610 for the school in Stump Sound. The proposed timeline presented by Mr. Baker suggested Board approval by the first of March 2019, construction bid approval by May 2019, grading and construction start in June 2019, and finished schools by February of 2021.  

Some Board members voiced concerns about the proposed plans, including traffic and how well the schools will be able to sustain future growth before becoming overcrowded. The discussion on growth focused on ensuring that the schools can sustain the student population, while also making sure schools do not become too large to manage, creating a decrease in quality. Board members requested that they get a more in-depth look into the schools’ plans from Mr. Baker in an upcoming workshop meeting.