Please Consider the Needs of the SPHS NJROTC Program before Relocating the Program
10/30/14 Update -- based on conversations between Ken Taylor, NJROTC Booster Club President, and Mark Hollar, Assiatnt Superintendant for Operations:
- The timeline for potential movement is now 2015, at some point before the start of the next school year (could be as early as 1Q 2015)
- An Architect has been hired and a final set of options is being devloped
- The NJROTC message is being heard
Keep up the good work spreading the word that the NJROTC program is a valuable program and any changes needed to accomodate the Carpentry class coming back to South Point should be considered carefully as to not negatively impact the NJROTC program.
We request a deferment of the plans to relocate the SPHS NJROTC unit to portable or other spaces on the SPHS Campus at this time.
The needs/requirements of the NJROTC program were not initially considered when a decision was made to relocate the program. We ask that you consider the following facts concerning the SPHS NJROTC unit before moving forward with the current location plans
· The SPHS NJROTC unit is ranked among the top twenty units in North and South Carolina, receiving recognition the last four years as a "Distinguished Unit" and during 2013-2014, received the NJROTC Program's highest national award as "Distinguished Unit with Academic Honors". It is the ONLY Navy ROTC unit in Gaston County.
· Community service is a key aspect of the unit – 2013-2014 year, the unit amassed 2500 service hours; so far for 2014-2015 already has over 800 service hours. They participate in volunteering service in key Gaston County venues such as Cotton Ginning Days, River Sweep on Lake Wylie, Keeping Belmont Beautiful, among others. Our cadets are also active custodians of the unit's adopted highway on South Point Road and have contributed over 1000 hours picking up debris on campus and assisting school administration in the setup and breakdown of school-sponsored events. The unit has been hand-picked to serve at the rededication ceremony of the Fighting Yank in Belmont on October 4th where the Governor of NC will be speaking.
· The SPHS NJROTC program tends to be the biggest organization on campus where students invest significant time participating in numerous extra curricular activities offered by the unit, both before school and after school.
· From an Academic standpoint, our cadets have 20% lower suspensions and 6.5% fewer dropouts than the district averages, and a 94% average daily school attendance versus 92% for non-NJROTC cadets at SPHS.
· Post graduation - 56% of our senior cadets continue education, 6% seek direct employment, and 38% enter military service. For 2013-2014, 42% of our graduating cadets received scholarships amounting to approximately $1 million. Moreover, cadets graduated with higher GPA’s, SAT and ACT scores versus the overall school averages.
· The current 30'x23' climate-controlled storage room houses over $120,000 in U.S. government furnished property and is both adequate and secure in compliance with the government's contractual requirement with Gaston County schools for the protection and security of the furnished property. The equipment is Navy issued uniforms (shirts, pants, hats/covers, belts, shoes, insignia, outer wear jackets, etc.) for regular training, drill meets and dress uniforms for special occasions. Other equipment is also stored with the uniforms including competition robotics equipment, flags, flag staffs, etc. Adjacent to the uniform storage area is a smaller space used to house approximately 50 drilling rifles and repair parts. These drilling rifles must be housed in a locked storage area separate of other equipment.
· Inside the naval science instructors' administrative spaces, there are an additional 15 air rifles. These rifles require special security handling given their status as weapons. Currently, the air rifles are secured with double lock entries into the administrative spaces and placed inside of a large keyed safe.
· There is an additional $25,000 in government furnished instructional materials that reside within two adjoining classrooms which would reduce the student capacity in a trailer space thus reducing the effective number of cadets for instruction and thereby be an impediment to maintaining the unit's required minimum enrollment number under the government contract.
· Reducing these spaces will greatly jeopardize the program for the cadets in their achievements and the exposure to the community on behalf of the School and District. It is our belief that it is unreasonable that this relocation can be accomplished over a two week Holiday break, given all the materials and equipment must be personally managed and handled by Navy personnel and cadets ONLY.
We suggest consideration of utilizing existing space at the newly built, under populated Stuart Cramer High School for the upcoming 2014-2015 semester for the displaced Carpentry class at Gaston College and leaving all existing classes in place. This would provide additional time to adequately review and prepare a facility assessment and space usage of the SPHS campus to determine the best location for all classes impacted. Furthermore, it will allow reconsideration of a prior proposal to build a new weight room facility at SPHS.