MORGANTON, NC – University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper visited the Morganton campus of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) today to highlight the ways in which the current state budget impasse in Raleigh is affecting the critical needs facing the university system.

President Roper met with school, civic, and elected leaders and toured the Morganton campus construction site. Without operating funding for the new campus in the enacted budget, NCSSM recently announced that the entry of the first class of residential students at NCSSM-Morganton is being delayed from August 2021 until August 2022.

“There is no greater example of the importance of getting this budget across the line than the full funding of this campus at Morganton. I will continue to advocate full support of our institutions, which requires fiscal backing from our state’s leaders,” said Dr. Roper. “My concern for the UNC System is, pure and simple, non-partisan, which is why I will repeatedly request that our state’s leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to find a resolution. I maintain hope that the budget will get enacted.”

Chancellor Todd Roberts toured the Morganton campus of the NCSSM to highlight state budget needs.
Chancellor Todd Roberts toured the Morganton campus of the NCSSM to highlight state budget needs.

Approximately $81 million in approved state and privately raised construction funding is being used to construct new buildings and renovate historic ones on a 62-acre ridgetop site adjacent to the NC School for the Deaf and Western Piedmont Community College. However, construction money cannot be used for recurring expenses such as paying staff salaries.

Opening the school also requires operational funding to begin hiring administrators, teachers, and support staff to ready the campus and its programs. The campus will eventually employ nearly 100 people, requiring an extensive search and selection process followed by orientation and training programs. 

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret that we cannot welcome our first residential class as originally planned in 2021,” said Todd Roberts, Chancellor of NCSSM. “However, I can assure you that our institution is fully committed to opening a campus of the highest quality at NCSSM-Morganton as soon as it can be achieved.”