Onslow County Schools is moving ahead with plans for a regional skills training center following approval of a property deal that allows for location of the facility in Onslow County’s industrial park.

The Onslow County Board of Education approved the receipt of a 17-acre parcel of land (planning lots 32, 33, and 34) within N.A. Burton Business and Industrial Park on which a regional skills training center is to be built.

The concept for the trades/skills training center to serve high school students in a three-county area, with the goal of being in operation by the 2018-2019 school year.

“This training center is what we hope to be a strong partnership between Onslow, Jones and Duplin counties,” said Onslow County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout during Tuesday night’s meeting of the school board.

Stout said there will be surveys and conversations to determine the biggest training needs and how best to strengthen the skills training wanted by employers.

Board of Education members gave their unanimous support to the action to advance the project.

“I think it is a win-win for our school system and also for the county’s economic development,” school board member Earl Taylor said.

According a request for qualifications for architectural services for the project, the concept is for a center that will house up to 200 students per instructional block of time, with three to four instructional blocks per day. The concept is for four classrooms and instructional programs to include automotive technology, construction technology with focus on HVAC systems, and applied sciences technology.

Onslow County Schools is to receive a $5 million grant from the state for the project. The school system loses the funding if the training center does not happen.

Under the agreement with Onslow County, the parcel is conveyed to the Board of Education without cost but with several conditions.

If a skills center is not constructed on the site within three years, the property along with any improvements made reverts back to the county.

As part of the construction of the skills training center, the Onslow County Board of Education will extend the existing two-lane road, Northwest Corridor Boulevard, to the line between planning lots 34 and 25 and build a new cul-de-sac at the end of the new roadway to allow access to the county’s retained lots (35, 44, 45, 46 and 47).

The new facility will have a front-elevation brick façade, a natural area or landscaping of side lot for screening and a sign complimentary to the existing Onslow County Government Center.

Also, any future facilities built at the skills/trades center built within Burton Park may be made available by the Board of Education for use by Coastal Carolina Community College for providing job training for companies that might locate in Onslow County.

The idea for the center is that it will provide skills training in the daytime for high school students and may be available for use in the evening for community college students.

Stout said there will be opportunities for partnerships with the college.

“Coastal Carolina Community College is going be a very important part of this,” Stout said.

Wetland delineation and environmental studies will be done prior to any on-site construction.