By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
North East Carolina Prep School (NECP) will dedicate its new middle school building in a 10 a.m. Friday program just outside the building. The two-story 51,000-square-foot building has housed fifth through ninth grade students since the beginning of this school year — Aug. 5.
“We are very proud of this new building. There’s been a lot of community interest in seeing it. We’re proud to show it,” said Diane LeFiles, director of communications for NECP.
Eddie Goodall, executive director of the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association, will be the keynote speaker at the event, following a welcome by NECP Executive Director John Westberg. LeFiles said Goodall would talk about the role of charter schools in North Carolina and specifically about the regional impact of NECP – “the newest and fastest growing public charter school in Eastern North Carolina.” Goodall served in the State Senate for six years, and was a cofounder and vice-chair of Union Academy, a K-12 charter in Monroe.
Local officials, including County Manager Lorenzo Carmon and Mayor Pro Tem Taro Knight, also will give remarks at the dedication. Knight said the construction of the building was a “boost economically” for the Town of Tarboro because the construction company used local labor and patronized local businesses during the construction project.
“It brought a level of economic development to the town,” Knight said. He added, “The Town of Tarboro annexed that property in hopes that it would provide future impetus for economic development.”
NECP is located on Husky Trail, off Howard Avenue Extension, and is just within the town limits.
Representatives from HighMark School Development, the company that financed the construction of the middle school building and renovation of the other two buildings on campus, will be in attendance.
After the program, student ambassadors will offer guided tours of the middle school and elementary school buildings from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“People can see the school in action. The children will be in their regular routine,” LeFiles said.
The middle school building is the newest, building on the 52-acre campus. Construction of the new building was necessary to help accommodate the 900 students enrolled in the school’s second year of operation. When the charter school opened its doors in August 2012, it had an enrollment of about 400 students.
NECP’s charter says that the school will have an enrollment of 1,250 in its third year, but the school can accept up to 20 percent more than that, for a total of 1,500 students, provided the school has the space to house the students, LeFiles said. She said NECP has a three-year construction plan and at the end of that time, it will have the ability to house 2,200 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
NECP is currently accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year. The application is available on the school’s web site — HYPERLINK "http://www.necprepschool.com" www.necprepschool.com. The school will do a lottery early next year to determine which students will be accepted into the school. For instance, if NECP can accept 100 additional students, “We will draw the first 100 (names) out, they’re in,” Westberg said, in an explanation of the lottery system.