New E.E. Smith High School Frequently Asked Questions

  • Summary:
    Our goal is to build a state-of-the-art, 21st-century E.E. Smith High School that can effectively address structural and educational limitations. E.E. Smith High School is a Nationally Certified STEM Campus, offering unique programs in science, mathematics, engineering, the arts, and technology. Despite several facility enhancements, current infrastructure and space constraints hinder the growth and expansion of these innovative programs.

    Answers to many questions that have arisen throughout the development stages of this project are below.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q1: Why do we need to build a new E.E. Smith High School?
    A1: A new E.E. Smith High School needs to be built because the school does not meet the current North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recommendations for the academic space profiles of a 21st Century High School. The main challenge arises from the age of the school, originally constructed in 1953 (71 years ago), leading to evolving building codes and ADA standards that pose difficulties for compliance.

    Q2: How does E.E. Smith High School's status as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts,  Mathematics) campus impact its facilities and infrastructure?
    A2: As a Nationally Certified STEM Campus, the current infrastructure and space constraints at E.E. Smith High School limit the growth and expansion of the school’s unique programs in science, mathematics, engineering, the arts, and technology.

    Q3: What are the challenges related to the size of the E.E. Smith High School campus?
    A3: The current 27-acre campus falls well below the recommended 70-100 acres for a comprehensive high school. This size limitation negatively impacts E.E. Smith's athletic events and extracurricular activities due to space constraints.

    Q4: Were there any other potential sites considered for the new E.E. Smith High School? Can you clarify why the Stryker Golf Course location is being considered as a possible site for the new E.E. Smith High School?
    A4: Yes, a total of eight sites were evaluated for the feasibility of building a new high school. However, the Stryker Golf Course emerged as the only recommended and viable location after an evaluation by an engineering firm. Other options were explored, and the final decision will be made by the Board of County Commissioners.

    Q5: If the Stryker Golf Course site is chosen, where precisely on the golf course would the new E.E. Smith High School be built? Would the golf course close?
    A5: Specific details about the placement and the golf course's future would be developed in collaboration with Fort Liberty officials during the planning process.

    Q6: What are the key considerations for building a new high school?
    A6: Important factors include site selection, accessibility, minimal disturbance to the learning environment, adherence to zoning and safety regulations, availability of necessary infrastructure and utilities, environmental impact and compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

    Q7: How much land is optimal for constructing a new high school?
    A7: Ideally, 70-100 acres are recommended for constructing a new high school with adequate facilities.

    Q8: What should be included in the educational facilities of the new high school?
    A8: The new high school should feature spacious classrooms with natural light and proper ventilation, flexible layouts, specialty classrooms like science labs, computer labs, art studios, and music rooms, as well as sufficient administrative spaces.

    Q9: What sports and recreational facilities are recommended for the new high school?
    A9: Recommended facilities include a multipurpose sports field, track and field facilities, gymnasium, tennis courts, baseball field, and softball field.

    Q10: What is the estimated cost for building the new E.E. Smith High School?
    A10: The estimated cost for constructing the new E.E. Smith High School, which includes sports fields, auditorium, technology, and contingencies, is approximately $159,974,480.

    Q11: What are some comparable high school construction projects in North Carolina?
    A11: Comparable projects include new high schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Hoke County, Iredell-Statesville, Wake County, and Alamance-Burlington, with costs ranging from around $156 million to over $207 million.

    Q12: What is the student capacity and size of the proposed new E.E. Smith High School?
    A12: The proposed new high school is designed for a student capacity of 1,600 and covers 254,479 square feet.

    Q13: How has the school system received input from stakeholders about the possible construction of a new E.E. Smith High School?
    A13: District administrators have met with various E.E. Smith alumni and community groups to gather input and share public information via Board of Education meetings, which are live-streamed.

    • May 27, 2023 - E.E. Smith Alumni Association Reunion Weekend (in-person) 

    • January 25, 2022 - E.E. Smith Task Force meeting 

    • March 30, 2020 - E.E. Smith Task Force meeting


    Q14: Would parents or guardians with felony records be allowed to visit the campus at the new E.E. Smith High School location if the Stryker site is selected?

    A14: Yes, if the Stryker location is selected as the new site for E.E. Smith High School, parents and guardians with felony records would be permitted to visit the campus, consistent with our district-wide visitor guidelines. This site would be controlled by our school system under a 99-year lease and would be located outside the Fort Liberty gate, allowing us to manage who comes and goes to the school. Department of Defense and Army restrictions would not apply. It is important to note that similar arrangements at other schools, such as W.T. Brown and Hefner Elementary Schools, have never posed an issue. Our priority remains to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our school community.


    Q 15: What is the latest update on the possible new E.E. Smith High School?

    A15: After extensive discussions at the January 11, 2024, Cumberland County Board of Education meeting, the Board voted 5-3 to propose the Stryker Golf Course site to the Cumberland County Commissioners as the potential location for the new E.E. Smith High School building. This decision followed the evaluation of eight possible sites. The Stryker Golf Course was identified as the best option based on an engineering firm's assessment. Cumberland County Schools officially communicated this recommendation to Cumberland County Manager Clarence Grier via email on January 17, 2024. The Cumberland County Commissioners will make the final decision on the proposal and determine the project's timeline.