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North Carolina School of Science and Math announces $50 million capital campaign

The North Carolina School of Science and Math launched a fundraising campaign on Feb. 22 with the goal of raising $50 million over the next five years.

This virtual Ignite + Transform announcement included remarks from current students, alumni, Chancellor Todd Roberts, Vice Chancellor Kevin Baxter, former Gov. James Hunt, and more.

Ignite + Transform video, courtesy of NCSSM

In Roberts’ introduction and greeting, he said the campaign has already garnered over $30 million. NCSSM has broken up the campaign givings into four priority groups:

  • STEM teaching and learning.
  • Student success and wellness.
  • Transformational leadership.
  • And an annual fund.

The first priority focuses on innovating instruction. This includes upgrading labs, classrooms, and more at the Durham campus, renovating and building more for the Morganton campus, and expanding distance learning opportunties.

Student success and wellness fundraising is for new buildings on both campuses that support mental health and provide college counselors. The school also mentions on the site that this particular campaign “will increase our focus on access for underrepresented populations, from targeted recruitment to stipends and computers for students with financial need.”

The transformational leadership funding will support competitions and learning opportunities. For Durham, this specifically means building a new STEM gym, offering work space for simulations, experiments, and more. This priority also looks to create an endowment to hire and retain faculty.

NCSSM opened its doors in Durham in 1980 and was the first public residential high school focusing on STEM education. Since then, over 11,000 students have attended NCSSM. It soon will be able to serve more North Carolina students, as a second location in Morganton opens this year.

NCSSM officials report that they received over 2,000 applications for admission to its Durham, Morganton and online campuses.

Students will hear admission decisions on April 7, he said. NCSSM-Morganton will welcome 150 students for its inaugural class.

The Morganton campus sits beside the North Carolina School for the Deaf on 62 acres. Baxter says a focus at NCSSM-Morganton will be on data science.

“Whether it’s humanities, mathematics, science, or computer science and engineering, you’ll see data science themes trending throughout all of our academic pathways and opportunities.”

Kevin Baxter, vice chancellor and chief campus officer for NCSSM-Morganton

NCSSM-Morganton was due to open its doors in August 2021 but had to delay because of the budget impasse. The school put out a video series entitled Road to Morganton, that gives context to the new location and community that will house the western branch.

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is a multimedia storyteller for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, and STEM education.