Demolition is underway at Sugar Loaf Elementary to make way for a new gymnasium. The state awarded the district $5.3 million dollars for the project in January. Upgrading the gym is part of a five-year facility improvement plan for the district. Sugar Loaf Elementary opened in 1958 and was most recently updated in 2002 with six new classrooms. The new gym will be in the spot where the media center and a handful of classrooms were located.
The money comes from the state’s Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund. Funding for buildings and improvements falls under the responsibility of the counties according to state law. From time to time, the state releases grant money for capital projects. Most recently, Alexander County Schools received $1.38 million dollars for a new roof at Bethlehem Elementary from the state fund. Director of Facilities Chris Campbell worked with the finance department to apply for both awards.
The needs-based funding is money the state takes off the top of lottery proceeds and awards to districts. Alexander County often is eligible for state funding that other districts do not get because it’s considered a Tier Two county. The tier designation is based on the median county income, average unemployment rate, and property tax base. Alexander County Commissioners have committed five percent, $265,048, of matching money to complete the Sugar Loaf project.
The leveling should be completed at the end of the week depending on weather.