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Capt. Steven Ross of NJROTC asked the McDowell County Board of Education Monday night to help fund a new target system for the cadet shooting team.

“Currently we have a marksmanship team, one of the better ones in North and South Carolina,” Ross said. “Last year, we finished fourth in the NC/SC tournament. Traditionally, the way the marksmanship team works is you have a 10-meter target piece of paper and with a scope track to see where they shot so they can adjust their sights.”

Ross said he and other NJROTC programs across the country are requesting the Navy purchase a set of new targets for different areas. If the Navy approves the request, McDowell High School’s NJROTC would split a set of lanes with North Augusta High School in South Carolina.

“If the money is available, we would get about 12 lanes, I would suspect. I have also talked about a local company considering sponsoring it to provide additional funding for this,” said Ross.

The cost of the competitive targets would be about $5,000 per lane. Ross requested the board purchase six more lanes. He said NJROTC has saved money from former competitions that they have the finances to purchase two lanes, which would give the program 20 in total.

“I’m asking the board to consider funding six lanes, to make 20 lanes that we need to host a competition. It would be about $30,000,” said Ross.

In return, Ross said, schools would pay to shoot on their range, which would most likely be the only one available in western North Carolina. It would also be a school asset that could be used by other student shooting groups in the area.

“Of the 64 NJROTC units in North and South Carolina, 60 of them have shooting programs,” said Ross.

Board chairman Terry Frank suggested Ross attend their September work session, where they could also call a special meeting to vote on the request.

“We need to make sure we have the funding to finance this and it will give the finance committee a chance to meet with the finance officer to see if we have the money to do that. It sounds great,” said Frank.

“With the investments we have made over the last year, they are asking for $29,000 on a $100,000 range and students have stepped up to raise $10,000 on their own,” said board member Doug McCraw. “We are looking for a commitment from the board, but if the Navy doesn’t step into that spot, we won’t be committed to the range. If we commit to the money, if might give the Navy reason to go in our direction.”

In other business:

-Superintendent Mark Garrett gave his administrative reports.

-During the curriculum feature, members of the Future Farmers of America presented a power point presentation to the school board about the Ag program. They talked about the courses offered and new projects they are working on.

-Teacher representative Angela Autrey talked to the board about her platform for the year to focus on student achievement. She said NJROTC is near to heart because both of her children participated. She discussed much of the history, performances and accolades of the student organization.

-Under unfinished business, Garrett gave an update on the Old Fort Elementary project. Garrett attended a recent faculty meeting at Old Fort Elementary where he discussed the plans with the staff and teachers. “They were very excited to have us go over that step by step so they can get a visual,” said Garrett. The application has been submitted for needs-based capital school grant requesting $15 million to help fund the project. Garrett said results will be known for the application by September 30. Architect Chuck Hamrick said the construction documents will be ready by the end of September, and bids should begin by the beginning of November.

-Board members Doug McCraw and Amy Moomaw gave updates on their committee reports.

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