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home : news : education October 15, 2019

9/17/2019 8:24:00 AM
What Next? (UPDATED)
Will Westlake Charter find another location?
"Stumbling blocks may happen, that's
out of our control. Never give up on
something worth fighting for!. Take a
breath, regroup and move forward!
Have a terrific Tuesday!"
Artist's conception of original Westlake Prep building proposal.
Artist's conception of original
Westlake Prep building proposal.

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

Westlake Preparatory Academy, the new charter school that is currently operating out of the Parish House at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on NC 16-Business, and which had hoped to build a new school at the intersection of Club Drive and NC 73, posted on its Facebook page Tuesday morning (Sep. 17th): 

"Stumbling blocks may happen, that's out of our control. Never give up on something worth fighting for!. Take a breath, regroup and move forward! Have a terrific Tuesday!"

The stumbling block, although not detailed in the post, may be a unanimous decision by Lincoln County Commissioners Monday night (Sep. 16th) to deny a request for rezoning of property at the corner of Club Drive and NC 73 so a new school could be built there.

The applicants had asked that a decision on the request be delayed until the October 7th Commissioners meeting to give them time for additional input relative to the traffic situation that has been the main obstacle to the request.  

While Ryan Properties, the applicant, and Charter Schools, USA, the company that operates the school, had agreed to postpone construction of an early childhood learning center until after NC 73 is widened to four lanes [expected in 2023], the change in plans would still not alleviate the expected congestion at the NC 73 and Club Drive intersection according to County Planning Director Andrew Bryant.  

Commissioner Bud Cesena said, "this has been talked about enough. I think we need to go ahead with a decision tonight."  Cesena motions to accept the Planning Board (which voted 4-3 against approval of the request) statement that the request did not meet the criteria for approval and to deny the request were agreed unanimously by Commissioners.

So what next?  The applicants had indicated that they would not seek another location but back away from the school if they didn't get approval.  A spokesman told the Lincoln Herald that former Commissioner Martin Oakes' statement--that they could now go back to the original planned location off Triangle Circle since, according to Oakes, legal matters related to that property have been cleared up--was wrong.

The question also remains, if the charter school isn't built, will Lincoln County Schools have to add another school to serve the growing population in the area?  If so, the cost of a new school has been estimated from $23-40 million.

THURSDAY MEETING CANCELLED--see information below

Some answers--including the possible answer to the future of the school--may come at a meeting Thursday evening.  On their website, Westlake Prep posted Tuesday: 

Information Session September 19th, 2019

West Lake Preparatory Academy encourages our interested families to attend an informational session. The sessions provide our community with an ideal way to find out detailed information on how we provide quality education. Attending the session is the perfect platform to ask your questions to faculty and staff. Please join us for our next session on September 19th, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 537 N. Hwy 16, Denver, NC 6:30 pm -7:30 pm in the church parish activity building, our temporary site for our school. We look forward to meeting you!

The Thursday meeting was cancelled.  A notice of the cancellation was posted on Westlake Prep's Facebook page--but not on the school's website.  According to the Facebook post, the meeting will be rescheduled--but no new date and time has been set.

Following the decision by Commissioners Monday evening, a large crowd of residents of the area near Club Drive who attended gave Commissioners a standing ovation.

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