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Charter school to break ground for new building

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Lincoln Charter School is set to break ground on a new elementary school building for its Denver campus tomorrow during a ceremony hosted by PTO members.
The new building will be located on Galway Lane, next to the middle and high school building.
Dave Machado, chief administrator for Lincoln Charter, told the Times-News that the roughly $5.3 million project is estimated to be completed by December.
The planned 54,000-square-foot, two-story building will include a large computer lab, more classrooms and resource rooms, a gymnasium with a multipurpose room and a walking track over the gym for added physical education and recess time, Machado said.
However, another significant benefit of the project, Machado noted, will be that all Denver students of Lincoln Charter, kindergarten through 12th grade, will now be on the same campus, making logistics a bit easier to sort out.
“Having our elementary building with our middle and high school building will make the Denver campus a single community,” said Lincoln Charter School Board Chair Dia Harrill.
“The physical building will obviously give us needed space for during- and after-school events, not to mention additional parking.”
Also, parents picking up children in multiple grades will now have one drop-off and pick-up location.
“Occasionally, middle and high (school) students are given opportunities to interact with the younger grades, and now they can walk across a parking lot instead of having to be transported down the road,” she added.
The project has been part of the school’s “long-range plan,” Machado said, noting that the building committee behind the project is made up of parents and staff, with teachers able to view and comment on the plans as they were being developed.
Financing is being provided by BB&T. Charter schools receive no state or federal funding for buildings, Harrill said, adding that they “must be very wise with the money we receive.”
“We have been approved for a tax-exempt bond with BB&T to finance the project,” she said.
She also touched on the board’s long-range plan, which she noted includes building and retaining enrollment, which is needed to construct facilities.
Lincoln Charter is leasing its current Denver elementary school facility, located on N.C. 16 North. Once the move is made to the new building, the mortgage payment should equal roughly what the school was paying previously in rent, said Lincoln Charter board member Steve Swicegood.
“This stands as a testament to the wisdom of the past leaders of the school, who came up with a plan to squirrel a little bit of money away every year for large projects,” he said. “So instead of worrying about money, we can concentrate solely on the business of educating children.”
Harrill said she agrees. “The elementary project came to be from smart planning and fulfilling the need of a permanent place for Lincoln Charter School students to receive an exemplary education,” she noted.
“Brick and mortar does not make a school, but this new facility, along with our middle and high school, is a bonus for those that teach and lead inside.”

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