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News Education

A new campus master plan endorsed Friday, Dec. 6, by the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees is designed to closely link physical facilities of the university, including future construction and renovation, to goals of its recently approved strategic plan.

The master plan is meant to provide “a flexible framework for growth,” said Keith Storms of Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning.

The plan is based on enrollment projections that anticipate more than 11,000 students studying on the campus in Cullowhee by the year 2023, and the need for approximately 486,000 gross square feet of additional interior space to accommodate the needs of those students. Currently, about 7,800 students out of WCU’s total enrollment of 10,107 live and study in Cullowhee.

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Western Carolina University student teams from a course taught by Jim Manning, associate professor of communication, recently offered public outreach presentations at the Jackson County Senior Center and Cullowhee Valley School.

One presentation focused on the basics of email, social media, online shopping and mobile phone apps. A second presentation centered on how parents can monitor and control a child’s web and mobile device use.

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Despite the lack of salary raises on the state level, Macon County officials have provided local teachers with a two percent supplement since 2004. The supplement, intended to ease the burden of cost of living increases and the state's salary freeze, has been crucial for area teachers.

For as long as the county has provided teachers with the two percent supplement, the board of education has taken the initiative to provide administrators with the same incentive. Historically paid out of the district's yearly fund balance, the administrators supplement almost didn't happen this year.

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Macon County Board of Education hasbeen approved for $1.5 million in state QZAB (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds). QZAB funds is a pocket of state monies that is designated for school renovations. The county has utilized these funds in the past when making needed renovations to East Franklin Elementary and this year, the renovation project at Highlands School. The money is available at a zero interest rate to school districts across the state to allow needed repairs to be made. QZAB funds however, require a local 10 percent funding match.

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published: 10/18/2013
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