On June 30, Charlotte EAST held a community forum on Eastland and the dual-language CMS magnet school at the site. The forum was well attended and featured special guest presenters.
Pat Mumford, director of the Neighborhood & Business Services department, reviewed his recent presentation to City Council. He showed how the guiding principles Charlotte EAST developed through open community design charrettes align with recommendations of the parcel developed by the City and most recently by visiting award-winning architect Alejandro Aravena.
Ann Clark, superintendent of CMS, followed with a presentation about the plans for a dual-language K-8 Magnet school at the site. She said the school would mirror the very successful and popular Collinswood Language Academy. Collinswood is currently the magnet school with the largest waitlist. She also showed that many east Charlotte students currently travel to Collinswood. A mirror program at Eastland would be closer to home. Further, Clark showed the enrollment numbers for east Charlotte elementary schools. All of them are over capacity – many nearing 150% of designed capacity. The newest elementary school, Lawrence Orr on Shamrock Drive, is at 93% capacity after its first year of operation. Projections in the birth-4 year old population are driving the demand for a new school and the money for the school is available from a previously issued bond. Clark shared examples of how developers are asking CMS to integrate schools into residential and commercial development. The new school would open for the 2018-19 school year first with K-2 students and would increase enrollment each year as that cohort moves up.
Both Mumford and Clark underlined their cooperation in ensuring the design of the school fits with the goals of the high quality development the community expects at Eastland. They took questions from the audience during their presentations and stayed after the meeting talking to attendees. They welcomed further resident input and offered to return to speak with us as often as we ask them.
John Autry, City Council District 5 representative, and Trevor Fuller, Chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners were in also in attendance.