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Robertson Foundation boosts grant for central office to $875,000

The Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation awarded the Rowan-Salisbury School System an additional half million dollars, for a total of $875,000, toward its proposed central office.
“We are very appreciative that there are organizations and people here that will donate money for the school system,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann.
Although the funds were previously tied to moving costs, furnishings and a dome for the building, the foundation now says the money can be used for anything connected to building the central office, provided the building is built in downtown Salisbury.
The foundation initially committed $250,000 for the district’s central office to help cover moving expenses and furnishings when district leaders were looking at a building off of Interstate 85 and Innes Street in 2005.
Margaret Kluttz, chairwoman of the Robertson Foundation board of directors, said when the school district considered building the office on South Main Street several years later, the board decided “still to honor the original $250,000 that had been committed but never awarded.”
In addition, the board decided to provide an additional $125,000 for the dome included in the architect’s building designs.
The board felt the dome would give the central office “a proud presence,” Kluttz said.
With recent approval from county commissioners to build the central office, district leaders are working to finalize a property selection as quickly as possible so they can begin working on the long-anticipated facility.
Kluttz said the board hoped an additional donation of $500,000 would enable the district to move forward with the project.
“We were just hoping that we could make their decision just a little bit easier,” she said.
The board also decided to remove previous designated restrictions such as moving expenses, furnishings and the dome and “sweeten the pot for them” so the district could make things start happening.
The total amount of $875,000 is to be paid over a two-year time frame.
“At this point, the money has not been designated for a certain purpose yet. That’s something that we’ll ask our board to help us with,” Vann said.
Kluttz said the foundation believes the school system’s central office should be located in downtown Salisbury because it’s the county seat and it “shows a symbol of vitality.”
The foundation considers a variety of donations in both Salisbury and Rowan County each year. However, its focus is typically on the city.
The foundation focuses on awarding grants “where they can make the biggest impact,” Kluttz said.
Grants go to support “a variety of things for young and old,” such as education, the arts, preservation and sports — things that make “this area tick,” she said.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” she added.

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