“The Dunbar Village Neighborhood” consists of 7.4 acres, formerly known as the Dunbar High School. Dunbar High School was the first “all Black” school in Rowan County, NC. The school was the nucleus for the predominantly Black Township of East Spencer, which boasted high levels of resiliency and cultural heritage. The school was closed due to integration, and later becoming the location of an integrated community effort for nearly 30 years. After numerous redistricting efforts by the local school system, the facility was used sparingly to assist the community, but finally abandoned. Today the school sits in ruin, after a fire destroyed a large majority of the facility.
Paul L. Dunbar Group, a 501(c)3 organization, holds title to the property and desires to develop the Dunbar Educational Hub. It will host the Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School, which opened in August of 2018. The Essie Charter accommodates approximately 120 students from K to 4. The school will add a grade each year until it achieves the eight grade levels for which it was chartered.
PLDG intends to launch a K7-12 Polytechnic High School focusing on an array of vocational and technical curricula, including software development, medical coding, digital data processing, SAS Certification, engineering and digital media services. The planned curricula are aligned with regional goals of establishing the school as a destination in close proximity of the N.C. Biomedical Research Park in nearby Kannapolis, North Carolina.
Institute of Social Impact LLC
The Institute is a for-profit limited liability company, registered in the State of North Carolina. The Institute, management consultant for PLDG, provides management, strategic planning, collaboration and resource mapping to bring a focus of social impact investment and implementation to the local community. Under the guidance of the Institute, PLDG has developed a strategic plan and a community needs assessment. The Institute continues to collaborate with relevant expertise to bring about the Dunbar Educational Hub.
Essie Kiser Foxx Charter School
Essie School is a local non-profit charter with a need for expanding infrastructure to accommodate more than 389 elementary and middle grade students within the next 3-4 years. School funding is guaranteed by N.C. Board of Education, and provides a stable revenue stream to facilitate a lease agreement with PLDG.
Town of East Spencer
The local governing unit supports the initiative and brings funding from EPA to conduct E1 and E2 environmental assessments. Thus far, $400,000 has been expensed to assess the condition of the facilities, to remove three underground oil tankers from land and to treat the soil. Anticipated funding of $500,000 is expected by October of 2019 to clear asbestos and lead paint from properties. The Town has been accommodating with zoning/planning changes that favor the development of the project. USDA has determined the community eligible for fund allocation if needed.
Anticipated investment to develop the educational hub is approximately $5.5 million dollars. Proceeds from investment will be used to demolish structures on the property to ensure EPA compliance, contract a development company, and to hire needed expertise for the project. Funds are needed to acquire the 6.6-acre tract adjacent to the 7.4 acres held by PLDG for continued expansion of housing, and commercial/retail development.
PLDG holds clear title to 7.4 acres. Owner of the 6.6-acre tract is willing to sell for $225,000 and is uninterested in staying in the project. EPA has invested $400K into environmental assessment. Institute has negotiated an agreement for lease with Essie School, and is currently identifying partners to assist with launch of the polytechnic high school and curriculum.
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