Northern Wayne County will be getting a new elementary school.
Wednesday, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, Wayne County Board of Education, County of Wayne leaders, school district administrators, and Town of Fremont leaders came together at the Fremont Town Hall for the announcement of a new Fremont Elementary school. The school district and county have been awarded a $15 million grant through the State’s Need-Based Public School Capital Fund grant program. As a part of the grant, the County of Wayne will use $8 million of matching local funds to help build the new school.
“Building a new Fremont Elementary is and has been a joint effort by many people who have a vision for Wayne County Public Schools,” states Don Christopher West, Wayne County Board of Education Chair. “I would like to extend my appreciation to the NC Department of Public Instruction, Representative John Bell and Senator Jim Perry, my fellow Board of Education members, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and its late chairman, Ray Mayo, for their support and many contributions to bringing this project to fruition for our students and community.”
District officials plan to break ground on the new school in spring of 2021. The new school, which will have the same design as the recently built Meadow Lane Elementary, is expected to be completed in 2023. It is important to note that the school will be able to accommodate more than three times as many students as the current school of approximately 200 students, which will be vital for helping address K-3 class-size needs in Northern Wayne County. It will also have energy efficient HVAC systems, upgraded furniture and technology, and advanced safety and security features.
“Providing our children with safe facilities continues to be a priority of the Board of Commissioners,” states Joe Daughtery, Wayne County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair. “Fremont Elementary was originally constructed in 1923, and is one of the oldest schools in our state. We are excited that NCDPI chose Wayne County for this grant opportunity, and we look forward to breaking ground on a new school in Fremont!”
Noticeably absent from the town hall announcement was the late Board of Commissioners Chair, Ray Mayo, who recently passed away. Mr. Mayo was a vocal advocate for building a new elementary school in Fremont.
“Like it was for many, this project was a passion of Ray Mayo,” adds Mr. West. “I had several discussions with Mr. Mayo about the need to replace this nearly century-old school. He recognized the importance of this project for the town of Fremont, as well as the financial impacts a new elementary school would have on the Northern end of Wayne County if it were to come to fruition.”
The Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund was established by North Carolina S.L. 2017-57, Sec. 5.3., modified by S.L. 2017-212, Sec 1.1., and modified by S.L. 2018-5, Sec. 5.3. The purpose of the State fund is to assist lower wealth counties (development tier one and tier two counties) with their critical public school building capital needs. The state grant funds must be used for construction of new school buildings only, and cannot be used for real property acquisition.