Hoke County will soon have a new middle school due to a new public-private partnership, an idea that some say may eventually become the norm for school projects.
Sandy Grove Middle School, located in Raeford, N.C., will open this fall. With the partnership, the project’s developer will lease the land from the county while owning the building and leasing it and the land to Hoke County schools. This involvement of a private firm allows for tax credits the school system couldn’t get under typical school construction financing. The $4.2 million in state and federal tax credits will be used to pay down debt, which helps lower the school’s lease payments.
So far, across the country this model has been used only one time before and has never been done in North Carolina. Ben Matthews, director of school support for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, explained that many districts haven’t wanted to experiment with an unknown.
“It’s a complicated thing,” Matthews said. “Schools are a huge capital investment. A lot of times local school boards are concerned about jumping in on something with no track record because they are concerned about understanding it.”
Learn more about this new school construction idea here.