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Randolph County Schools to launch 6-12 school

TRINITY, N.C. -- Monday night, Randolph County Commissioners approved money for the Uwharrie School project correcting a capacity issue for the southwest part of the county.

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey said the decision will remedy the under capacity issue of Uwharrie Middle School at 53 percent and Southwest Randolph High School at 104 percent overcapacity.

“With this project we’re adding 300 high school seats to this zone for $410,000 versus building a $40 million high school, so there’s an economic piece as well” Gainey said.

Approximately $166,000 will go towards three new school buses towards the fleet and one activity bus. About $200,000 is going towards the school one-on-one technology initiative.

Students within the combined school will be able to choose a focus of learning based on career interest.

Uwharrie lead teacher Laura Popp said the better options and technology tools will foster success and self-motivation.

“This redesign affords us the opportunity for students to study their core classes through the lens of a career interest. We will have a school of leadership and communication, a school of public service and a school of technology and design,” Popp said. “It will open up opportunities for online learning, utilizing Web 2.0 tools and just preparing our students for career and college readiness.”

The budget for the tech initiative will purchase 400 Chromebooks for the students

$15,000 will also go towards a makerspace for the school and $30,000 will go towards the salary of a choral or band teacher.

Gainey said the transition will be gradual within the next four years. Each grade will cap off at 75 students.

“The high school grade levels will be based on application and we'll have a tier lottery system so the first students to have the first access to the 75 seats will be out current eighth-graders at Uwharrie Middle School,” Gainey said.

The transition will begin next year.