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Swain applies for state capital fund grant

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Swain County Board of Commissioners approved a grant application for a needs-based public school capital fund grant through the NC State Superintendent’s Office during a special session on Thursday, Oct. 5. 

Swain County Schools Finance Officer Stephanie Treadway explained the application at the Swain County Board of Education meeting on Monday. 

The North Carolina State Legislature approved lottery funds for 2017-2018 and 2081-2019 budget to be used for Tier 1 schools for needs based public school capital projects. For every $3 in grant funding, the county must match $1 with local funds. The maximum grant is $15 for new capital projects. 

Other conditions include that any application must address a critical deficiency and the district would not be able to receive lottery funds for five years if they get the grant, which for Swain would amount to about $650,000. 

“We felt it would be a good trade-off for us,” Treadway said. 

The district has applied for the grant to fund improvements at Swain County High School, breaking up the plans in two phases. 

Phase 1 would be to renovate 9,720 square feet of existing building and an add on of 14,100 square feet to create new STEM classrooms, a guidance suite, relocate and expand the administrative offices and main entrance. In addition, the media center would be renovated, a kitchen would be added on and the dining space would be increased.

Phase 2 would be to expand the existing gym to create a lobby and additional bathrooms and a new auxiliary gym would be added. 

If Swain doesn’t get approved for it this year, the application will be submitted for the grant again next year. Treadway said, “by applying now, this puts us in good shape to be in next year’s award if we don’t get this one.”

Swain also wrote the grant with the caveat that if the entire grant amount is not awarded, the district is happy to have just the first phase funded.

The total requested funds would be $8,902,575, with a total local match of $2,967,525 and a total project cost of $11,870,100. 

It has been a quick turnaround for this grant process. A decision should be made by Nov. 1. The district just learned about the grant a couple of weeks ago. 

Smoky Mountain Times

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