DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–Duplin County Schools unveiled $60 million worth of expansions to its schools on Friday.
The funds were spread over 6 projects. Kenansville, Warsaw, Wallace and Rose Hill-Magnolia elementary schools were combined with middle schools to create four new K-8 schools. That brings the total number of K-8 schools in the county to seven.
The expansions included adding additional classroom wings, updated classrooms, and athletic facilities.
“It allows for vertical conversation for teachers, for students and for social development among our students,” Dr. Austin Obasohan, superintendent of Duplin Co. Schools, said. “For parents, it allows for better relationships with their teachers as they move on and better support for the school itself.”
The three middle schools that were closed were the oldest in the county. A large scale expansion hasn’t occurred in the district for nearly 50 years.
“I’m so excited for our kids,” Dr. Obasohan said. “Yes, the buildings are nice but it’s really about the teachers. This facility is here to enhance and support powerful teaching and learning.”
The new Kenansville school will house 550 students. Principal Debra Hunter says she’s excited for the opportunities the additional spaces create.
“We are able to provide students with technology that we haven’t before,” she said. “We have a wonderful STEM lab that will be so resourceful.”
In addition to the STEM lab is a CTE lab and science labs.
Dr. Obasohan says the $60 million cost did not put an extra burden on Duplin County taxpayers.
Students like 8th-grader Rachel Blanchard were ecstatic to see the new updates.
“I think it’s really nice compared to the old school I went to,” she said. “The hallways are very long.”
Students attending their open houses across the district were able to see the updates for the first time. During Friday’s open house, they met with their homerooms, found out their bus numbers, and reconnected with friends.
“I’m looking forward to passing this year and going to the seventh grade,” 6th-grader Eric Valentin said.
School starts on September 5th.