Pinnacle Classical Academy Celebrates Groundbreaking, School Expansion

By February 23, 2023 News

Last Friday, February 17, Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby, North Carolina, celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for a new building project. Funded by a loan from the USDA, new construction will enable the public charter school to expands its offerings to students in grades 4-12. The building project will add classroom space and enlarge the school’s gymnasium, among other things.

Unlike district schools, public charter schools do not receive any capital funding for their facilities.


School and community leaders celebrate at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, February 17, 2023, at Pinnacle Classical Academy. Pictured leaders include Sen. Debbie Clary (center left, in black and white), the school’s board chair, and Dr. Shelly Shope, the school’s headmaster and a member of the Coalition Board of Directors (center right, in red and black). Photo credit: Dr. Shelly Shope and The Gaston Gazette.

Read the school’s press release below:

Pinnacle Classical Academy broke ground on the second phase of its grade 4-12 campus on Joe’s Lake Road on February 17.

Representatives of T.C. Strickland Construction, Holland & Hamrick Architects, and the USDA joined students, faculty, and members of the board of directors at the groundbreaking. Speakers included Dr. Shelly Shope (the school’s headmaster), Sen. Debbie Clary (chair of the board of directors), Sen. Wes Westmoreland (board vice chair and facilities chair), and Nicholas Lattanzi of the USDA. Emily Bridges and Lydia Canipe, the presidents of the junior and senior classes, led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the School Pledge.

Although Pinnacle Classical Academy is a public school, Pinnacle – like other charter schools – receives no capital funding and thus has relied on the USDA to help finance this $15 million project. The project will effectively double the footprint of the current school, adding roughly 60,000 square feet and expanding the gymnasium and locker rooms.

“This is our second major project with USDA, and we are so grateful for their help and support – there is simply no way we can meet the demands of Cleveland and surrounding counties for school choice without their financing,” said Clary.

“The growth we have experienced has put pressure on our facilities, particularly with the college classes offered here,” Dr. Shope added. “We are most anxious to add the additional classrooms, lab, and media space to our campus.”

Pinnacle is currently accepting applications for new students and will hold a lottery on Monday, March 13, at 6:00 PM. Applications are available online at, and students will be accepted on a random basis pending space availability.

“To have additional space will allow us to open even more spots for families looking for a unique, classical curriculum, academic rigor, successful safety record, and many athletic opportunities,” said Clary.

Pinnacle Classical Academy is a tuition-free public charter school with campuses on South Post Road (K-3) and Joe’s Lake Road (4-12) in Shelby. Consistently one of the state’s top-performing public school units, Pinnacle has 1,137 students in grades K-12 and more kindergarteners than any other school in Cleveland County.

Read more about the groundbreaking in the Shelby Star.