Budget delay causes holdup for new Thomasville High School

21 September 2023

THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — The delay in the General Assembly getting the budget passed in Raleigh is now causing concerns for Thomasville City Schools and their plans for a new high school.

Without the state budget set, the district cannot apply for a grant from the Department of Public Instruction, which they need to get started.

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The Superintendent of Thomasville City Schools Dr. Chris Kennedy is upset about the hold up, but he says they are done with all the preliminary work, so once the process does get moving, it will be quick.

“Our commissioners are on board. Our state delegation is on board … All we are waiting for is the opportunity to apply for the grant. Of course, it is all dependent on funding,” Kennedy said.

The new high school would cost roughly $70 million. The Davidson County Commission is prepared to do their required match of $10 million, and the district would request the remaining $60 million from DPI.

“In a traditional year, we would have expected to be already into the grant process, have the grant submitted. Because of the budget delay, we haven’t gotten that far yet, so I would imagine that likely now be closer towards the first of the calendar year before the grant even opens, which puts the selection process into the spring,” Kennedy said.

The current Thomasville High School was built in the 1950s and consists of eight individual buildings. The plan for the new two-story school covering 135,000 square feet would go on the same property.

The goal of building the new school is to address needs like infrastructure, technology, air quality and safety.

“It’s tough to keep a building secure when you’ve got eight different buildings on campus,” Kennedy said.

He is remaining hopeful the grant money will be awarded to Thomasville City Schools, but the waiting game is getting frustrating.

“Even if we were awarded the grant, it would be difficult for us to move so far during this school year, so the impact of the budget delay is costing us potentially a good part of this school year to get things done, but we are excited that opportunity is there,” Kennedy said.

If the funding does come through, it’s likely the work won’t begin until next school year. During the process of construction, the students at Thomasville High School will be able to stay in the buildings with minimal disruption.

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