Onslow Co. Housing Summit: An increase in the population growth impacting education

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Community members and public officials attended the Onslow County Housing Summit Monday.

Many in Onslow County voiced their concerns over widespread growth in areas outside the city of Jacksonville, like Sneads Ferry, Swansboro and Richlands.

Onslow County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout said that growth is shown in the almost 1400 new students expected within the next few years.

With enrollment numbers steadily increasing, Stout said the county needs to build more schools.

“It’s a ten year plan, obviously our growth is continuing so when we look at that we’ve got to be very honest with our public about where we’re going to be in and need probably to build more facilities,” said Stout.

With those increased numbers in the school system, commissioners said the county is falling behind.

“When you’re looking at 300 as an average increase in students each year and you figure you’re talking a 600 hundred student facility that means every two years you’re needing to build a new school,” said Onslow Co. Chairwoman Barbara Ikner. “We haven’t built any new schools in the past 6 or 7 years.”

While plans are underway to build new schools in developing housing areas, one education board member said it’s a double edged sword.

“When you create a new subdivision and you create a new school, you’re going to drive people to those areas,” said Board of Education member Bob Williams. “So it’s very important that if we’re going to have new subdivisions that we have a five year plan or a ten year plan for building schools that accommodate that.”

Onslow County’s Planning and Development Department said the population within the county is increasing by four percent each year.

Stout said the student population growth may increase in coming days after they recount numbers from the start of the school year.

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