The turning of the calendar to 2017 represented a milestone for the planning process for the Morganton campus of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Chancellor Todd Roberts recently charged a core planning team of 22 stakeholders to engage in advance planning efforts for the new western campus. The group includes representatives of the NCSSM community, ranging from alumni to faculty to trustees, the city of Morganton, K-16 institutions in Burke County, and the UNC System. The efforts of the core planning team will shape the educational program vision and design through concentrated listening sessions, research, and targeted engagement of constituents and peer institutions.
“Our Board of Trustees are extremely excited with the progress that has been made since the passage of the Connect NC bonds,” says Tom Williams, chair of the NCSSM Board of Trustees and member of the planning team. “The detailed work of the core planning team is allowing us to engage a broader and deeper group of stakeholders in shaping the experience our students, faculty, and families will have with the addition of the NCSSM Morganton campus. We are so grateful for the current and new members of the NCSSM community for becoming so actively engaged and supportive of this important work.”
The next steps in the advanced planning process will occur within six designated strands: academic program vision; technology infrastructure/physical structure; student life; business relations; community and government relations; and K-16 relations. The work within these strands will be supported by research and stakeholder engagement as facilitated by the Friday Institute, selected in December to lead planning efforts. Additionally, Duda|Paine Architects are continuing to investigate site options in Morganton for campus location. NCSSM will announce opportunities for constituents to participate in focus groups and surveys throughout the advance planning period.
Efforts are also ongoing to engage the Unifour region of North Carolina, comprising Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties. Sally Sandy, city manager for Morganton and member of the core planning team, is pleased with how planning has gone so far, and excited for the new campus. “The planning meeting brought a true sense of reality to the tremendous positive impact this school will have on Morganton, Burke County, and indeed all of Western North Carolina,” she says. “To say that our community is excited is actually an understatement; we are thrilled.”
The core planning team will continue to meet throughout the next nine months with an ultimate goal of informing the final educational program vision and site selection to be presented to the NCSSM Board of Trustees in September 2017.