Counties prepare for Fort Bragg growth

April 3, 2008 5:06:58 PM PDT
School systems near Fort Bragg are struggling to make sure there is enough space for students.

The army expects the Base Realignment and Closure plan to bring about 15,000 additional soldiers and airmen along with their children to the area. The number that is concerning everyone is the amount of civilians who will likely follow.

"With the BRAC Task Force, basically the number that they came up with was right around 20,000 to 25,000 heading this way which has a tremendous impact on surrounding counties and the school systems," Garrison Commander Col. David Fox said.

On Thursday, military leaders at Fort Bragg officials held a BRAC planning session with school superintendents.

"We are building a new elementary school in the Western part of the county. We're building a new middle school in Grays Creek and we'll shift some students that will open up some space. So, we're anticipating around 2,500 students," Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Harrison said. "The Army has always been very accurate on their projection so we think that's what it will be."

Several area school systems, like Cumberland County, are already overcrowded and have forced school leaders to be creative with space.

"Yes very creative. We've had to use every square inch of this building and we are certainly busting at the seams," Principal Crystal Brown said.

Harnett County school leaders are also concerned about space. The county is already feeling growing pains from families who work in Research Triangle Park, but call Harnett County home.

"We're anticipating 4,500 students by 2013 and working as hard as we can to be ready for them to have school buildings and seats for those children that will be coming," Harnett County Schools Superintendent Dan Honeycutt said.

Military and civilian leaders are working hand-in-hand to make sure they are ready.


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