Chatham is a rural county located in the heart of North Carolina. Our proximity to Research Triangle Park and the cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill offers the amenities of urban life while providing the comfort of a suburban setting. At 707 square miles, Chatham is one of the largest counties in North Carolina and is home to approximately 71,000 people.
Chatham County residents strongly support education and lifelong learning. That is evident by the passing of three bond referendums since 1989 for six new schools: Silk Hope, Bonlee, Bennett, North Chatham, Chatham Middle and Perry Harrison. Two new schools have been constructed within the past eight years. Virginia Cross Elementary School opened in October 2007, and Margaret B. Pollard Middle School opened in January 2011. Two new schools, Chatham Grove Elementary School and Seaforth High School are scheduled to open in 2020 and 2021, respectively, to account for population growth in Chatham County. The positive consequences of lifelong learning cannot be overstated. For this reason, Chatham County Schools highly encourages parental and community involvement.
Providing for the community use of public school facilities and encouraging citizens to participate actively in education at all levels continue to be primary goals of Chatham County Schools. The partnership of community and schools provides the necessary atmosphere for children to become responsible adults. Chatham County Schools firmly believes that parental involvement and dedicated volunteers truly make a difference in children's lives.
A major component of community schools is a county-wide volunteer program. More than 1,000 volunteers provide services to the schools each year. One of the largest volunteer programs is the partnership with Chatham PTA Thrift Shop. Volunteers with the organization provide countless hours of service and have raised more than $8.5 million for the schools.
The Chatham Education Foundation, a private not-for-profit organization, includes members from the business, education and professional communities. Grants, mini-grants and other special projects provide a continuous flow of supplemental support for education.
More than 25 colleges, universities and technical institutes are located within a 50-mile radius of the county, many of which offer graduate programs. Several of the most popular are UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke and North Carolina State University.
Chatham County and surrounding areas offer a variety of opportunities for leisure and recreational activities. Chatham's central location provides close proximity to North Carolina's beaches and the state's mountains. Nearby Jordan Lake offers 150 miles of shoreline and opportunities for boating, fishing, waterskiing and camping. Golf, tennis and organized sporting activities are also available locally. The world-renowned North Carolina Zoological Park is located in nearby Asheboro. Cultural events including concerts, symphonies, dance performances, arts exhibits and cultural performances take place throughout the year in neighboring cities.