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Cornelius News

Could Cornelius Elementary get a new building?

Photo: Cornelius PTO

March 17. By Dave Vieser. A new three-story building to house the aging Cornelius Elementary School may be in the works, according to CMS School Board Member Rhonda Cheek.

“We really are in a good position with the Cornelius Elementary School property since we have an extensive amount of property upon which we could build a new three-story school while keeping the existing school open,” the former Cornelius resident said.


She now lives in the county jurisdiction just outside Davidson.

Cornelius Elementary is recognized as one of the top schools in CMS, but the physical structure has some years on it. The Agricultural Building dates back to the 1930s.

“We actually have four amazing schools in our region including Cornelius Elementary with 563 Cornelius residents attending but it’s really getting old and I believe it will be on the top ten of our capital needs assessment list,” she said.

History lesson

Back in 2017, a $922 million CMS spending plan provided virtually no new schools in Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville, a stunner for leaders of all stripes in North Mecklenburg.

In response, the North Carolina General Assembly approved House Bill 514,  which was designed to give Cornelius and Huntersville, as well as Mint Hill and Matthews, the right to create town charter schools funded with local taxes—not county taxes.

The next shocker was the CMS board approving the “Municipal Concerns Act of 2018” in August. It cut Huntersville and Cornelius out of future school construction funding unless they passed a binding resolution not to pursue town charter schools for 15 years.

In 2018, the Cornelius Town Board approved the formation of an educational options study commission—the Huntersville board did the same—to study local education options going forward.

A year later, the Cornelius commission made no firm recommendations on whether our town should get involved in sponsoring or cosponsoring a charter school—or push for a new school district.

Ultimately, the commission options were more problematic than practical.


North Carolina charter schools traditionally do not recognize geographic boundaries.

Cheek said Huntersville Elementary is also reaching the point where it may also land on the CMS Top 10 list for replacement.

She said she would have more information on the status of the school later in the year.  There was no word on what would happen to the existing building.

“I know some of the town commissioners attended the school decades ago and that should tell you that a new structure will be needed sooner than later,” she said.