Lake Lure Classical Academy groundbreaking ceremony

Published 11:40 pm Monday, October 13, 2014

Eleventh graders and Kindergarteners turning the first round of dirt. (photo by Michelle Yelton).

Eleventh graders and Kindergarteners turning the first round of dirt. (photo by Michelle Yelton).

Lake Lure Classical Academy-a Challenge Foundation Academyheld its official ground-breaking ceremony on a beautiful morning on Tuesday, Sept. 30. Over 370 students (grades K-11) were bused to the new school site — an open field surrounded by tall hardwoods — to join their teachers, staff, parents and community supporters as they welcomed this long-awaited milestone. Not only is LLCA building a new school, but it is also bringing back a permanent school building to the greater Lake Lure community. The last time Lake Lure had a school of its own was in the early 1960s.

LLCA, a tuition-free public charter school, not only serves students in the immediate Lake Lure area, but also reaches out to five counties. The new K-12 school building site is located on Island Creek Road on the wooded lot across from Ingles Supermarket on Hwy 9 in Lake Lure. The new campus will be ready for students in August 2015.

Lake Lure Classical Academy’s temporary campus for the last four years is located at 2520 Memorial Hwy in Lake Lure, N.C. on the site of the original Lake Lure school.

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The official groundbreaking ceremony kicked off with LLCA School Board President Jim Proctor delivering an emotional welcome followed by a heartfelt “thank you” to the founding school board and The Challenge Foundation. In addition, Proctor thanked the school board, teachers and staff for being the “boots on the ground” in this endeavor. His remarks concluded with him thanking the Lake Lure Town Council for its overwhelming support for the school. Proctor then led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pastor Anton Roos of the Lake Lure Baptist Church delivered a prayer, followed by Mayor Bob Keith who recalled all of the efforts made to apply for and gain support for the school’s charter.

The ceremony continued with Russ Pitts-founding board member of Lake Lure Classical Academy and chair of the LLCA Facilities Committee-sharing with the crowd how he, along with Jim Proctor and the Town of Lake Lure, realized the need for a school in Lake Lure. Students were riding on buses four to five hours a day just to get to school.

Following Pitts, the LLCA Fifth Grade Chorus led by teacher Tammy Staley performed for the crowd of about 600. School Director Jessica Boland took to the stage and recounted a story of teachers and parents working hard to preparing classrooms and shoveling mulch for the school’s first open house.

LLCA Junior Avery Sherrill gave the final speech with his two younger siblings, Atticus (eighth grade) and Wren (second grade) by his side. Sherrill, who has been a student since 2010 when the doors opened, told the crowd what this new school would mean to him.

“This new start means our current students won’t be limited by facilities academically or physically.” Sherrill said.

Boland then called the kindergarteners and eleventh graders to turn the first ceremonial shovels of dirt. The LLCA School Board, The Lake Lure Community Education Foundation (instrumental in helping fundraise for the new building) and the school staff took turns moving dirt with the gold shovels.

Following the groundbreaking celebration, attendees were invited to join the Lake Lure Community Education Foundation (LLCEF) for a brief presentation. Chris Braund, who chairs the LLCA Finance Committee and serves on the LLCEF board, shared with the group how the school is borrowing $9 million that will fund 75 percent of the construction project (the main educational facility). The loan will not fund the gymnasium/auditorium structure. Braund explained that LLCEF has been laying the groundwork to launch the “Raise the Roof for LLCA” – a fundraising campaign that will help the school secure the remaining project cost of $2.8 million so that it can complete construction of its permanent campus.

LLCEF Board President Todd Morse told the group about his great-great-uncle Dr. Lucius Morse who had the original vision for a school in 1920. The school, which opened in 1927, was one of four buildings essential to building the Town of Lake Lure. The school closed in 1961 due to school consolidation.

“We all know that closing the school changed the character of the community,” Morse explained. “The building of the school will bring vitality and energy to the community like nothing else can.”


— article submitted
by Scarlette Bennett Tapp