Gates County Schools receives $4.6 million grant

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

GATESVILLE – Five-for-five….in the sport of baseball that translates into a perfect 1.000 batting average.

With that in mind, applying for five grants – each for over one million dollars – and having all approved is the proverbial “grand slam” plus one.

Gates County Schools was notified last week that their application for funding through the 2023-24 Need Based School Capital Fund (NBPSCF) has been approved by the state in the amount of $4,620,000.

That money will be used for much-needed renovations at Buckland Elementary School ($2,904,000) and T.S. Cooper Elementary School ($1,716,000).

This latest funding from the state comes on the heels of Gates County Schools receiving $2.5 million in 2017 to make upgrades to Central Middle School followed in 2022 with $1.7 million for Gatesville Elementary renovations and $9.8 million to renovate and add on to Gates County High School.

Gates County Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Williams was notified of the latest NBPSCF grant on Feb. 14 by State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.

“I am so thrilled for T.S. Cooper and Buckland Elementary Schools,” said Truitt. “This grant will allow them to make much-needed repairs and renovations to these two older school buildings. All students deserve to learn in a safe environment. I’m grateful to the legislature for giving the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction these lottery funds to award to our smaller districts.”

Two years ago, after the Central Middle School project was completed and the announcement came about the successful applications for renovations at Gates Elementary and the high school. Dr. Williams stressed he would remain vigilant in continuing to submit grant applications to acquire the funding needed for improvements to T.S. Cooper Elementary and Buckland Elementary.

His tenacity paid off with last week’s announcement from Truitt.

The NBPSCF grant is for school renovation and school construction. The grant requires no match from the county ensuring that the citizens will not have to bear the responsibility in funding the much-needed renovations. “We have been trying to find the funds to replace the windows and roofing at Buckland and TS Cooper for many years. I am excited to know that funds will be available to address these concerns,” said Johnny Greene, the county’s Director of School Maintenance.

The planned renovations at T.S. Cooper and Buckland include replacing all single pane metal framed windows with energy efficient ones, replacing all existing exterior doors, roof replacement, energy efficient upgrades to the HVAC systems, and interior painting.

“I am excited and proud that with the receipt of this grant and previously awarded grants, all schools in the Gates County School System will be renovated, along with the new construction at Central Middle School and the upcoming new construction at the high school,” Dr. Williams said. “I am excited to begin the process of making the much-needed improvements.”

“I am also very pleased that we are a school district that is not required to provide matching funds,” Dr. Williams continued. “Some counties awarded funds through NBPSCF grants must provide a 5% or 10% match, so we are fortunate in that aspect as this grant comes to us at no expense to the county and our citizens. I am truly appreciative of the award made to Gates County Schools by NCDPI and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.”

“I was overjoyed when Dr. Williams shared we were receiving this grant,” stated Gates County School Board Chair Sallie J. Ryan. “It is a blessing and could not have come at a better time. We will now be able to begin the necessary planning and work on our last two elementary schools to create the innovative and engaging learning environments our students, staff, and communities so deserve.

“I have never ceased to be amazed how Dr. Williams has been able to ensure these grants for our schools in the past,” Ryan added. “And, now as we have been trying to determine how we would do these renovations and updates, he has done it again. Accolades to Dr. Williams.”

School Board Vice Chair Ray Felton commented, “This grant is a true blessing to the citizens of Gates County. It gives us the opportunity to bring two very important and historic school buildings up to the condition we expect and they and the communities they serve deserve. I am truly appreciative of the vision, determination, devotion, and hard work Dr. Barry Williams has invested to see this come to fruition.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal