Western NC Campus of NC School of Science and Math Officially Opens

A large three-story brick building.
NCSSM

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics recently launched its second campus in Western North Carolina, a historic moment more than a decade in the making. More than 600 state and local leaders and supporters gathered on the new campus among gleaming new buildings and renovated historic structures to celebrate.

As the unique statewide public high school extends its world-renowned academic programs deeper into Western North Carolina, residential enrollment will expand to serve 300 additional North Carolina students on the Morganton campus beginning this fall with the first class of 150 high school juniors.

“This is a historic day,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “The new campus in Morganton will extend the North Carolina School of Science and Math’s extraordinary benefits and opportunities to more of the state’s talented young people. We are grateful for the support of our elected leaders, who had a remarkable vision for this beautiful western campus, and our state will be better for it. Graduates from the Morganton campus will become North Carolina’s teachers, scientists, doctors and inventors, and their brilliance will inspire us.”

Those graduates will join more than 12,000 other alumni of the school who have gone on to become astronauts, famous musicians, public servants, and entrepreneurs starting North Carolina companies that employ thousands. The Morganton campus brings the UNC System into a region of North Carolina that did not previously have a UNC campus. NCSSM is the only high school in the 17-institution UNC System.

“We are incredibly grateful for the excitement and investment around our new Morganton campus which is poised to be a game changer for the Unifour region,” said Kevin Baxter, Vice Chancellor and Chief Campus Officer for NCSSM-Morganton. “We are thrilled to open this campus in Morganton, not only bringing the promise of NCSSM to hundreds more students, but also serving as a catalyst for economic development in Western North Carolina.”

NCSSM serves academically-talented high school juniors and seniors from all parts of North Carolina, including 680 each year in its residential high school program in Durham, which opened in 1980, and hundreds more through the NCSSM-Online program, which has been expanding annually and allows students each year to take a series of NCSSM courses virtually alongside the curriculum at their home high school. NCSSM also offers individual NCSSM Connect courses in partnership with local high schools as well as summer programs serving students as young as kindergarten, which will be offered from the new campus as well.

Hundreds of public officials, donors, school leaders, and other supporters took part in the celebration on the new ridgetop campus with mountain views, marking the occasion with tours of the educational spaces and speeches by dignitaries, listed in the event program linked here.

NCSSM-Morganton is situated on an 800-acre state-owned property shared with two other educational institutions — Western Piedmont Community College and the North Carolina School for the Deaf. The three schools are already collaborating and have plans to expand partnerships in the near future.

Construction on the residential high school is nearly complete as it begins summer programs on June 12 followed by the arrival of the inaugural residential class of juniors on Aug. 10 for the 2022-2023 school year. The new campus will ultimately support more than 100 full-time jobs.

The majority of the project has been funded by the state of North Carolina, which has demonstrated its commitment to this vision through appropriations totaling $85 million. In addition, a tremendous spectrum of individuals, corporations and nonprofits have stepped forward to contribute more than $12 million in private investment for the new campus.

“The public-private partnership that has taken shape around this campus has been nothing short of incredible. In addition to the generous support of the North Carolina General Assembly, more than 300 donors have contributed to this project,” said NCSSM Chancellor Todd Roberts. “I’m so proud of our state for making this investment in its students, and I and our faculty and staff are energized to think about what these additional students will go on to do after having this opportunity.”

For more information about NCSSM, visit ncssm.edu, and for more about NCSSM-Morganton specifically, visit ncssm.edu/morgantoncampus.