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Gray Stone celebrates middle school addition

February 20, 2018, 9:33 am

A ribbon cutting was conducted Thursday to officially open the middle school building at Gray Stone Day School.



From left: Greg Alcorn,  member of the North Carolina State Board of Education; Roger Dick, president and CEO of Uwharrie Capital Corp.; Allen Hart, area director of USDA Rural Development; Helen Nance, chief administrative officer of Gray Stone; Stephen Chambers, chairman of the board for Gray Stone; Dave Machado, director of the Office of Charter Schools for North Carolina; and Barry Hennings, president of Omega Construction, Inc., cut the ceremonial ribbon to usher in the middle school at Gray Stone Day School.



Chief Administrative Officer Helen Nance opened the ceremony in the commons at the current high school building.


“This day is a very exciting day as we usher in a new era in the life of Gray Stone Day School,” Nance said. “The school will now be known as a college preparatory school serving students in grades 6-12. The rigor provided in the classroom will continue to prepare students for college and allow that groundwork to begin in the middle grades.”


The middle school at Gray Stone has been operating since the beginning of the school year and moved into a new building in November.


Gray Stone Board Chairman Stephen Chambers welcomed guests and dignitaries.


“Thank you for the reality of this day,” he said.


Greg Alcorn, a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, spoke as well. Because this charter school is run by an independent non-profit, “the money stays here, making this an economic powerhouse for this area,” said Alcorn.


The middle school building was built by Omega Construction, Inc. from Pilot Mountain. They specialize in commercial buildings and have built several charter schools around the state.


Omega Construction has built all of Gray Stone’s facilities.


“It has been a wonderful relationship and we are grateful for it,” said Barry Hennings, president of Omega.


The Gray Stone Middle School is a more than 18,000-square-foot free standing classroom building with 15 classrooms, a teacher workroom, a lobby called the Square, two offices and bathroom facilities.


The school is also adding an auxiliary gymnasium to the existing sports wing which will also include a health classroom, physical education/health teachers’ office, a coaches’ office and storage. This will add close to another 10,000 square feet to the facility and will be completed in March. The total cost for the entire project is about $3.9 million.


Dave Machado, director of the Office of Charter Schools in North Carolina, brought greetings from Raleigh and encouraged the school to continue with its program.


There are 173 charter schools in North Carolina, serving more than 100,000 children.


In reference to adding additional grades, Machado said, “Gray Stone did it backwards, first a high school, then a middle school. I am proud to know Gray Stone. They are a leader in innovation among North Carolina charter schools.”


Roger Dick, president and CEO of Uwharrie Capital Corp., shared that he had been a part of the beginning when the motivation to start a school began at the kitchen table.


“It is wonderful that two local institutions can partner together to have this impact on our area,” Dick said.


Uwharrie Bank has worked with USDA to provide the loan to enable the school to move forward with this new addition.


Allen Hart, USDA area director for Rural Development, shared that, “USDA was very fortunate to be a part of Gray Stone’s success.”


Billy Constangy, from Rep. Richard Hudson’s office, was in attendance and presented Nance with a letter of congratulations from the congressman.


Nance recognized the middle school teachers as well as the donors who have helped this project get underway.


“Charter schools do not receive any state funding for facilities and therefore they must raise it on their own,” she said. “Many times a school will have one major benefactor, a family or a foundation. We don’t have that here. It has taken many people making contributions to get us this far. Without your help, we never could have gotten this far.


A reception and tour followed the ceremony in the Square at the middle school.


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