South Charlotte

Organizers working to build new Matthews-Mint Hill Charter school

The Matthews-Mint Hill Charter Academy received state approval earlier this year to open in fall of 2016. Now organizers are working to build the school.

The new school will be governed by a board, but owned and operated by National Heritage Academies, a Michigan for-profit charter school company. National Heritage operates 81 schools nationwide, seven of those in North Carolina including nearby Queen’s Grant Community School in Mint Hill.

National Heritage is working with Team Church in Matthews to purchase 21 acres at Stevens Mill and Mount Harmony Church Roads. The school will be adjacent to the church. The site is at the edge of Matthews and Mint Hill town limits, not far from the border of Union County and close to I-485.

This looks like it’s going to be a good partnership. Once the school approached us and told us what they wanted to do, it matched our vision for serving the community. By sharing the facilities, it will be a good use of the Lord’s money.

Team Church Pastor Kenny Hibbard.

The church and the school would maintain a close relationship with one another. The school would use the church’s auditorium on some occasions and the church would use the school’s gymnasium on Sundays.

Both would share overflow parking as well as an athletic field.

“This looks like it’s going to be a good partnership. Once the school approached us and told us what they wanted to do, it matched our vision for serving the community. By sharing the facilities, it will be a good use of the Lord’s money,” said Team Church pastor Kenny Hibbard.

National Heritage’s Bob Dunston spoke to Matthews Commissioners at a recent pre-construction conference, outlining plans for the proposed school.

Dunston said his company hopes to submit formal plans to the town of Matthews by the end of October.

The company must seek a zoning change and change in conditions on the property before the school can be built. If the application follows the normal approval process, construction could begin in February.

Dunston said organizers aren’t worried about filling seats in the school as Queens Grant has a 1000-plus student waiting list and many of those students would likely apply to the new charter.

Matthews Mint Hill Charter will open with grades K-6 and a capacity of 601 students. The school then will add a grade each year for the next two years becoming a K-8 school with 937 seats.

National Heritage’s Mack Moore said the school plans to start accepting student applications early next year.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com

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