Mountain Island Elementary could see expansion

by Melissa Gute

CHARLOTTE – Mountain Island Elementary School could be expanded in the next few years to include kindergarten through eighth grades, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ master plan unveiled during the March 26 Board of Education meeting.

The Long-Range Facility Master Plan is part of a 10-year capital improvement program, which includes Mountain Island Elementary. Its expansion would allow students to continue a science, technology, engineering and math focus, or STEM, through eighth grade.

Though no athletics would be available at Mountain Island Elementary, students would be able to participate in them at Coulwood. The expansion will also result in a smaller enrollment at Coulwood and require the use of mobile units for grades six to eight.

The top 25 proposed projects would require $400 million. They will alleviate major areas of overcrowding, address aging facility issues and reduce the district’s use of mobiles to accommodate expected student enrollment growth of about 2 percent annually, according to a district news release.

“CMS plans for the capital needs of the district over a 10-year horizon to help drive cost efficiencies,” said Board of Education Chairperson Mary
McCray in a news release. “We are highlighting our top 25 capital projects because Mecklenburg county managers have indicated they will likely pursue a three-year bond in the fall.”

Capital projects for the district are usually paid for with bonds issued by the county. The last school bond package was passed in 2007 for $516 million.

In addition to building improvements and grade reconfigurations, the master plan includes the expansion of magnet programs, career and technical options and classes to allow students to earn college credits through Central Piedmont Community College while still in high school.

Here are key dates as the capital improvement plan moves forward:

• April 9: CMS board will hold a public hearing

• April 23: CMS board will vote to approve the plan

• May 7: CMS will present a bond package request to county commissioners

• May 21: County commissioners will vote on bond package

• June-November: CMS will engage the public about the proposed bond package

• Nov. 5: The public will vote on the bond package during the general election

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