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Budget to build a new Brunson Elementary School is now $52.4 million

Forsyth County Commissioners approved Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ request for additional funding. The project is now expected to cost double what voters originally approved.


The current school building is 63 years old.

Photo by WStoday

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will get an additional $27.2 million dollars to build a new Brunson Elementary School. Forsyth County commissioners approved the request during their meeting on Thursday, Dec. 21 (scroll about two hours in to hear the discussion).

“It is time for the folks who have been involved in the Brunson project to move to a new home,” Chairperson Don Martin said.

The school district says the additional funding is necessary because construction costs have nearly doubled since the project was approved. The commissioners’ vote brings the total budget for the replacement school to $52.4 million.

Plans for a new school

The school at 155 N. Hawthorne Rd. is located in a floodplain. Parents and educators have reported problems with mold, standing water, and roof leaks. In 2016, voters approved $25.2 million dollars for a new elementary school as part of a $350 million bond referendum.

At a meeting in early 2019, district leaders told parents larger repairs weren’t done because work on the new school was expected to begin shortly. Design work was slated for that spring, construction was supposed to start in summer 2020, and the new school was slated to open in fall 2022.

Selecting the site

The district narrowed down three options for the new school. The chosen property on Patterson Avenue is an unused industrial site. It was listed on the NC Department of Environmental Quality’s brownfield sites, which means it has a threat of environmental contamination.


The 10-acre site of the new school is less than three miles from the current campus.

Photo by WStoday

A third party determined mitigation efforts were possible. The district purchased the property in December 2021 for $2.5 million. In November 2022, Board of Education members voted to approve demolition so work could beginGilbane Building Company completed it in the middle of 2023.

What happens next

The funding from the county’s school capital project reserve fund means the project can move forward. In June, the US Environmental Protection Agency awarded the district $744,000 in grants to help with environmental remediation.