HUNTERSVILLE – After several years of planning and an organized fundraising campaign, Lake Norman Charter School (LNC) is beginning construction of an elementary school building on the school’s second campus at 10019 Hambright Road.
School administrators, faculty members, Mayor John Aneralla and LNC parents and students participated in a brief program and ceremonial groundbreaking at the site on May 9. LNC Superintendent Shanon Stein and LNC Elementary Principal Michelle Holland hosted the event, welcomed guests and thanked those who played prominent roles in helping the school finalize the logistics and compile the finances to initiate construction.
LNC, which has middle school and high school facilities on N.C. 115 in southern Huntersville, began kindergarten through second-grade classes at the elementary campus this school year, maintaining a steady pattern of decade-by-decade growth.
LNC opened as with grades fifth through eighth in 1997. In 2007, the charter school added high school classes. And the elementary classes began in August 2017.
“We’ve expanded every 10 years,” Stein said. “The demand and growth have been fairly consistent.”
And the “demand” aspect of Stein’s statement is illustrated by the 6,000 students currently on LNC’s waiting list.
The classrooms and administration offices at LNC Elementary are currently housed in mobile units. During the 2018-19 school year, third- and fourth-grade classes will be added, with all of the LNC K-4 classes operating in the mobile units.
Construction of the permanent school building is scheduled to begin immediately and take a little more than a year to complete, according to Stein and Sara Lay, LNC’s director of community relations.
The new 71,000-square-foot school building is scheduled to be ready for students at the start of the 2019-20 school year in August 2019. The building will include 25 classrooms, according to Stein. The facility will also include a gymnasium financed, in part, with a $500,000 contribution from the town. In exchange, LNC and the town will share use of the indoor recreational space.
When the new facility opens, LNC officials hope to keep one of the mobile units in service at the elementary campus to serve as the administrative headquarters for all LNC operations. Stein said that plan, which would require town board review, would allow for renovations in current LNC buildings to provide more classroom space.
Classroom space is a valued commodity for LNC. When third and fourth grades are added in the fall, LNC’s total K-12 enrollment will be around 2,100 students. That will include 100 students in each grade for kindergarten through fourth grade, and 200 students in each grade, five through 12.
Stein said those numbers have been established as LNC’s class-level enrollment standards, and there are no plans for increases.
State, national honors
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new elementary school coincided with the release of a U.S. News & World Report list naming Lake Norman Charter High School as the seventh best high school in North Carolina. The report evaluated public high schools in categories that included graduation rate, advanced placement class opportunities and student preparation for college. LNC was the only Charlotte-area high school in the top 10.