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Hyde County Schools shares plans to rebuild Ocracoke campus

Following an announcement from N.C. Superintendent Mark Johnson regarding the allocation of $4.9 million in disaster recovery funds for Hyde County, the school system has laid out a plan to put those funds to use.

The current plans involve using the majority of the allocation to rebuild the portion of the Ocracoke campus where the administrative offices, middle school, and high school classes were primarily housed.

“These funds became available to us as a result of districts returning money they had been allocated for storm recovery, previous to Dorian,” said Hyde County Superintendent Steve Basnight. “Those districts were able to use insurance, federal disaster relief and other funding sources to cover their recovery costs, which ultimately freed up this money to be reallocated to us. I am so thankful they did.”

Cleaning up, tearing down and elevating buildings is continuing on Ocracoke Island in the aftermath of the Sept. 6, 2019 hurricane. The only buildings that are currently in use on the Ocracoke School campus are the second floor of the elementary classrooms and the carpentry shop below the WOVV radio station. All other classroom areas of the school, including the media center, do not have floors or walls below four feet as a result of flooding.

Hyde County Schools is working to have a 10-classroom modular unit placed on the campus by April. Ocracoke School is holding classes in three separate locations on the Island for different grade levels: the lower elementary school in the former day care facility, the upper elementary on the second floor of the elementary building and the grades 6-12 in the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching facility.

“We are extremely grateful to be able to use the Day Care and NCCAT facilities to provide ‘classrooms’ for our students on Ocracoke,” Basnight said. “A school day on Ocracoke would look much different if we did not have those two facilities. NCCAT Director Dr. Brock Womble and the staff at the NCCAT facility have welcomed us with open arms and we cannot thank them enough. They even prepare breakfast and lunches for our students every day.”

Ocracoke School was not the only area of Hyde County Schools to receive damage from Hurricane Dorian. On the mainland, Mattamuskeet Early College has three classroom buildings with significant roof damage as does the school bus garage. The district is hoping to designate the remainder of the assistance funds to addressing those areas.