At the Alamance-Burlington School Board Member (ABSS) meeting Sept. 25, the terms of the agreement between Elon University and Elon Elementary was approved.
Elon acquired the land the elementary school presently stands on last year. The current elementary school will close, and Elon will be building a new elementary school about 1.2 miles north of its current location on land owned by the university. The construction of this new school is estimated to cost $18 million.
In order for Elon University to build on the land, they had to have special legislation passed. Rep. Stephen Ross, member of the class of ’73, was instrumental in this legislation’s approval. The land had to be taken from the government to the private sector and then back to the public sector.
“ABSS will be getting a brand-new school, and Elon Elementary will have a new facility for their students," said board member Allison Grant. "It is certainly advantageous for the university because they need that property to continue to expand and build.”
The university has been working on this process for about three years. With the construction of the new addition to the business school right behind the current elementary school, it was decided it would be beneficial for the elementary school to be relocated.
Gerry Francis, executive vice president of Elon, is now working as the liaison between the university and the community.
“The university wins because it’s getting property in the middle of campus,” he said. “The school system wins because they get a new elementary school. An even larger win is the community because of the new economic development in the location of the new school.”
According to Francis, there are about 700 students currently enrolled at Elon Elementary school. The new facility can house 1,000 students, and will move them from the current, highly trafficked location.
“It’s a win-win. Elon Elementary isn’t spending any money," said Todd Thorpe, who is responsible for Elon Elementary's facilities. "If the public had to build it, it would cost $24 million to $25 million. A private contractor is much quicker and cheaper.”