Partners in Learning to break ground on Aug. 29 with $10.6 million in the bank

Published 12:02 am Sunday, July 17, 2022

SALISBURY — Partners in Learning has contracted to start construction on its new facility late next month after a capital campaign that took in millions.

The local early childhood nonprofit has raised $10.6 million and has enough to build most of the facility. It hopes to raise the final $1.4 million it needs for its $12 million goal that will cover two additional classrooms and an outdoor exploratory area on the site off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

The nonprofit has two centers, one on the campus of Catawba College and another at Novant Rowan Medical Center. The lease on the Catawba village will be up in November of 2023, and Partners in Learning expects construction to wrap up in August next year.

The nonprofit has pointed to the change as an opportunity, adding more classrooms, community and clinical services as the wait list for its care services has ballooned to hundreds of children.

The capital campaign includes a long list of large donations, starting with a pilot gift of the land from Gerry and Brenda Wood on a parcel that was originally slated to be a warehouse for the Woods’ auto business.

The area for the new facility is now being cleared and the ground breaking will be held on Aug. 29. It’s expected to be more fun than your typical construction tip off.

“We don’t do anything typical,” Partners in Learning Executive Director Norma Honeycutt said.

She said the kids are going to be involved, with small shovels and hardhats abound.

“It’s about the children, it’s not about the adults,” Honeycutt said. “It’s going to be a very fun groundbreaking.

Honeycutt said the organization has some potential donors and is working with foundations to potentially raise the remaining $1.4 million.

The center is going to provide more than child care. In addition to all the parent programs the organization offers, it will allow the nonprofit to host clinical services that have not existed in Rowan County until recently.

Partners in Learning has already hired a clinician to provide applied behavioral analysis therapy and has begun serving two children. Partners in Learning is already able to bill some insurance but it is waiting on Medicaid approval and other insurance panels.

ABA is considered the gold standard as an early intervention for people with autism.

Honeycutt said with the current staff, Partners in Learning will be able to serve a total of 10 students and it already has 12 on its waiting list.

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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