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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 11:45 am

BEAUFORT — With the opening of the county’s first early college high school nearing, school and Carteret Community College employees are hustling to have the building ready by Wednesday, Aug. 15, when students report to classes.

From installing floors and basketball goals, to ordering furniture, personnel are busy preparing for the opening of the Marine Science & Technologies (MaST) Early College High School on CCC’s campus.

The school system’s chief academic officer, Heather Dietzler, updated Board of Education members Tuesday on progress being made on MaST, which will be housed on the bottom floor of the Michael J. Smith Library & Learning Resource Center at CCC.

“Our open house is scheduled for (Monday,) Aug. 13, from 4 to 6 p.m., and student admissions meetings will be held the first week of August,” Ms. Dietzler said during the meeting, in the school system’s central office on Safrit Drive.

The school, which has a marine science and maritime trades emphasis, will offer pathways for students interested in a range of careers - from vocational to college transfer, according to Ms. Dietzler.

Students will be able to earn high school and college credits simultaneously.

While the school has a marine focus, Ms. Dietzler said students can obtain credits in other career tracks as well.

She said students accepted to MaST have expressed a variety of career interests. They include marine propulsion, marine biology and aquaculture, engineering, cosmetology, technology and graphic design, business, welding, electrical work, nursing, university transfer and more.

MaST will start with 50 freshmen this year and is scheduled to have 100 freshmen and sophomores the second year, 150 freshmen through juniors the third year and 200 freshmen through seniors the fourth year.

Ms. Dietzler said acceptance letters and invitations were sent to 50 students last week. Of those, 47 have accepted. More than 70 students applied to MaST in the spring.

“Students who have declined were band students and one home-school student who is now enrolling back in public school,” she said.

The three vacant slots will be filled by a lottery drawing of students who are on a waiting list, according to Ms. Dietzler.

The college is providing facilities and equipment for the program, while the school system is responsible for personnel and bus transportation.

Former Beaufort Elementary School Principal DeAnne Rosen will serve as the school’s first principal.

County commissioners voted in June to provide $186,358 to open the school. The college is providing an additional $125,000.

County education officials had hoped the N.C. General Assembly would approve funding to open the school as part of their 2018-19 fiscal budget, in addition to county funds. The state’s budget, however, does not include MaST funding for 2018-19.

Superintendent Mat Bottoms said the state is scheduled to provide funding through a grant the following five years. The amount is scheduled to be $180,000 each year, but Ms. Dietzler said that is still up to legislators.

Board of Education member Travis Day expressed concern about the lack of commitment on state funding Tuesday.

“What happens if state funding doesn’t come through?”

he asked.

Mr. Bottoms said the students would be transferred back to their original high schools, but he was optimistic the funding would be provided.

Mr. Day said he also wanted to make sure that students attending the traditional high schools would have the same opportunities as those attending MaST.

Mr. Bottoms said traditional high school juniors and seniors can still enroll in Career and College Promise classes, which allow students to earn college and high school credits simultaneously. The advantage for MaST students is they can start earning college credits as high school freshmen.

He added that the disadvantage for MaST students is that they won’t be able to take as many electives, like band, as students who remain in the traditional high schools.

As for work taking place in preparation for the school’s opening, Ms. Dietzler said exterior awning has been purchased and vinyl lettering is being ordered this week. Walls have been moved and painted.

Workers are installing new floors and white boards have been ordered and should be installed this week. New technology has been purchased and installed, including viewing monitors, a communication system and Wi-Fi. Furniture has also been purchased.

In addition, the college has installed an outdoor basketball goal and volleyball court.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

• Approved several policy revisions, and heard the first reading of several other policy revisions.

• Met in closed session to discuss a confidential personnel matter. No action followed in open session.

Under the consent agenda, the board:

• Approved a local advanced credit agreement with CCC for courses in culinary skill I and Pro-Start II.

• Approved a contract with Kinetic Physical Therapy to provide six speech pathologists for the 2018-19 year. The cost ranges from $55 to $57.50 per hour, with a $95,000 limit per therapist.

• Approved contracts with Le’Chris Counseling and Invision Services. The Invision Services contract to provide services for the visually impaired is not to exceed $24,300. There was no contract cost listed for the Le’Chris Counseling contract for mental health services.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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