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Elk River Club Resident Pledges $100,000 for Historic Banner Elk Elementary School Project

The Avery County Board of Commissioners has agreed to sell the old Banner Elk Elementary School property to the Town of Banner Elk. Photo by Jesse Wood
The historic Banner Elk Elementary School property in the downtown Banner Elk. Photo by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 15, 2015. Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly had a surprise announcement on Wednesday evening at the Banner Elk Chamber’s annual dinner to celebrate the New Year.

Lyerly told those in attendance that a resident of Elk River Club pledged $100,000 to the historic Banner Elk Elementary School project.

In November, the town closed on the 5.4-acre property that was acquired after the Avery County Board of Commissioners agreed to sell the property for $1 million contingent upon the town paying water usage fees (estimated to be $30,000 to $50,000 in all) for the current Banner Elk Elementary School throughout the life of the 12-year loan.

“This is the first donation, and we are just thrilled to get this underway,” Lyerly said on Thursday. “The people at Elk River have always been very good to call Banner Elk their home as well as Elk River and they care about Banner Elk. They’ve been to help [the town] in so many ways.”

The Banner Elk Town Council recently formed two committees for fundraising and future usage. In past meetings, the fundraising committee had categorized amounts.

Lyerly said that this $100,000 is “naming-rights amount of money,” and the donor has a specific part of the school in mind for the location of the name. Lyerly did thank Elk River Club General Manager Toni Littleton for reaching out to all of the residents about this project.

While the town doesn’t have a check in hand, Lyerly believed that this donation should be finalized in the coming week, at which point, the donor’s name will be announced.

“I think this [donation] is significant in that it’s just been a very short time since [donation information] went out and we already have got this huge donation,” Lyerly said. “We feel good about the fact that we will be able to complete all of our obligations to make this school a vibrant part of the Town of Banner Elk.”

For more information on donating money for this project, contact the Town of Banner Elk at 828-898-5313.