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Plans for new Bladen County school moving forward

The rise in construction costs and materials has created some obstacles
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 6:32 PM EST
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TAR HEEL, N.C. (WECT) - With more families moving to southeastern North Carolina, there’s a growing need for new school facilities.

Bladen County Schools is on the verge of breaking ground for a new school in Tar Heel. The school would merge Plainview Primary School and the current Tar Heel Middle School.

The new school will be built on the empty land that is already school property behind Tar Heel Middle School.

Right now a new septic system is being installed, and bidding for the rest of the project will wrap up over the next month, in hopes that the official ground breaking will happen in early to mid-April.

The district currently has $15 million for the project, but recently applied for additional funding from the state to have a total of $40 million. County commissioners also promised $7 million for the project.

“We’re just hopeful that obviously we can get the 40 million from the public school capital fund and then we can be on target with what we anticipate for the budget for the project,” said Superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinson.

The rise in construction costs and materials has created some obstacles, but with additional funding the project should move forward without any issues.

“If everything falls into place then the board can approve the necessary things that they need to approve keep on rolling so that’s the goal in the timeline for that to take place early to mid April and hit the ground running with construction,” Atkinson said.

Dr. Atkinson says they are also working with the Department of Transportation to create turn lanes with plans for making the current back entrance to the school, the new, main entrance.

“It’s gonna take a lot of the traffic off of [Highway] 87 the way the road is going to be constructed for students to come in behind campus. It will be long enough so cars waiting and buses to get around — it’s a safety aspect. So, it has been challenging sometimes, cars do back up on 87 but that’s just one feature of the new construction,” Atkinson said.

The district will have a final answer about their additional funding on March 15th.

“I think it’s the biggest rock still hanging out there now is to find out — will we get the full $40 million and move from that?” Atkinson said.

If everything stays on track the new school will open in August of 2023.

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