Middle school to be replaced

By: By Natalie Davis - The Anson Record

Due to damages at Anson Middle School, county commissioners and Anson County Schools are working together to build a new middle school.

The school district is in the process of selecting a firm for the architectural and engineering services needed for the new middle school. They are also conducting studies on available property in hopes of finalizing a location for the new school.

Superintendent Michael Freeman said he is unsure of the exact timeline; and it is also dependent upon funding.

“We do hope to break ground in the near future; and after that, we will have a good indicator of when the school will be ready for us to take ownership and move in,” Freeman added. “Updates will be provided as soon as our team secures information.”

The Board of Education and Freeman are working closely with the commissioners and their team to secure funding.

“We are very fortunate to have $20 million designated for this project,” Freeman said.

The school district received a $15 million Needs Based School Capital Fund Grant from the state in October to help Anson move forward with a new middle school building. There is a $5 million match from Anson County government.

The new school construction task force is working to determine other options to secure the remaining funds that will be needed. The final cost will be determined once the facility has been designed and construction cost estimates are provided, which is still a few months away.

“My team and I are working closely with members of the North Carolina General Assembly and the governor’s team to secure any potential funding through state and federal resources that will support school construction projects here in Anson County,” he added.

Freeman said the current middle school is suffering from structural fatigue.

“We constantly must monitor the full facility to ensure that the building is safe for occupancy,” Freeman said. “We regularly experience challenges with leaking roofs; sewer problems; water outages; limitations with electrical services; traffic problems during student arrival and dismissal; addressing security issues is a challenge; heating and air conditioning units are in need of replacement throughout the campus; parking lots need attention; the athletic facilities are in need of repair; and the list could just go on and on.”

Freeman went on to say, “We have had to do additional work to a portion of the facility to keep it safe for occupancy.”

According to Freeman, the facility design is not truly suitable for 21st century middle grades instruction. The original facility was designed for high school instruction.

There are no facilities in the district designed for middle grades instruction. The Anson Middle School building was originally Bowman Senior High; it was Anson Senior High for a time before becoming the middle school.

“I am very excited about the support our board of county commissioners is demonstrating as we team for the purpose of building a new and much-needed middle school in Anson County,” Freeman said. “I believe children in Anson County need and deserve a new school that is truly constructed for middle school teaching and learning.”

Freeman added that it is nice to live and work in a community where people are supportive of education.

“While, we have a lot of successes and challenges, the journey continues as the wonderful Anson County and North Carolina citizens continue supporting children,” Freeman said. “After all, children are our future leaders.”

By Natalie Davis

The Anson Record