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School Board hears schools construction update

Jones, Clyburn honored at reception

Posted: December 19, 2016 5:59 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2016 1:00 a.m.
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The Kershaw County School Board honored its two outgoing members at a celebration Dec. 13. Mr. Clyburn (left) served on the school board for four years. Mrs. Jones (right) has served on the school board since 2005; she served as the school board chairperson for three years. Mara Jones and Louis Clyburn were presented with rocking chairs for their years of service.

Kershaw County School District is hoping to open its three newly constructed elementary schools in August of 2018. Camden Elementary, Lugoff Elementary and Wateree Elementary schools will be completely reconstructed as a part of the referenda school projects.

“We plan on breaking ground on all three (schools), the first week of June and will be moving in July of 2018 and opening August of 2018,” Executive Director for Operations Billy Smith told the KCSD board during its meeting.

Smith presented project updates to the school board during last Tuesday’s meeting.

Construction on the three elementary schools will be based on a prototype used for Jackson Elementary’s construction.

“In phase I, the board decided to build a new Jackson Elementary. The foot print we used for Jackson was chosen. It was the first LEED gold certified school in the state, we liked the plan,” Smith said.

Smith said using the Jackson School prototype will save the school district significant money.

“The architects told that if we did all three schools based on the prototype, we could save between a half a million and two million dollars up front.” 

Features such as bike lanes, security and energy features similar to Jackson Elementary will be applied to the new schools.

“These schools would be just as energy efficient as Jackson if not better -- just because of advances in technology,” Smith told board members.

Camden Elementary, which will be built on approximately a 10 acre site, will be built on a two story model due to space constraints. Third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms will be upstairs and teachers will have work centers on each hall. 

Smith told board members that Lugoff Elementary will be built on 22 acres, providing seven more acres than previously thought. Construction on the new LES will likely be able to take place during the school year 

“They think they can fit the new school on the current lot and build the next school safely while school is in session,” Smith said. 

Smith also elaborated on the new additions and construction to take place at ATEC as well as a new gym roof for Mt. Pisgah Elementary.

Also discussed during new business was the first draft of the 2017-2018 school year calendar.

“Putting together a calendar is a very difficult job. You are trying to get everything in, have to do tradeoffs … and to make it more interesting we have to throw a solar eclipse in,” KCSD Superintendent Frank Morgan said before the presentation.

Communications Director Mary Anne Byrd was joined by calendar committee members Midway Elementary teacher Alicia Poore and Jackson School Elementary parent Jamie Hayworth to present the calendar draft

“This calendar recommendation comes to you from a 27 member district wide committee with representation from each school and also the district office. We had 8 parents on the committee as well as a Chamber of Commerce representative, teachers, staff and a lot of good input from across the district,” Byrd said.

Byrd said the total solar eclipse occurring on August 21 made the calendar discussion more interesting.

“We found out during our process about the fact there would be a total solar eclipse on August 21, which is the first day by law which we could start (school). So we had to give great consideration to that,” Byrd said.

Hayworth said the committee made all decisions for the calendar with the interest of the children in mind. 

“We posed two calendar drafts to the community for review and feedback over a two week period, principals and district office employees received a copy as well. Dr. Morgan received a copy and posted suggestions. The copy of the calendar submitted to you tonight had the unanimous support of all committee members,” Hayworth said. 

Poore then presented council with highlights from the presented calendar draft. The committee suggested the first day of school for students be Monday Aug. 21 and the last day June 1.

“As mentioned we will be having a total eclipse on the first day which made this calendar discussion very unique. We looked at moving away from a Monday start but could not find a satisfactory solution, could not have a 180 student days,”

The committee then decided to recommend an early dismissal on Aug. 21.

“We are recommending an early dismissal so that schools can use the eclipse as a teachable moment. Since (the eclipse) will occur around dismissal time, students will be home instead of loading into buses and cars. Another advantage of the early dismissal day is that younger learners will be able to adjust to going to school,” Poore said.

Poore also pointed out that the draft would allow for maximum instructional time before state testing as well as for time for parent teacher conferences that will occur in the evening hours of Oct. 19 and the morning of Oct. 20. There would also be a three day thanksgiving break and a 10 day winter break.

“We would get out only one day past May which has been a preference in our community for years. We have also made memorial day a holiday because that has been a preference families have expressed … This draft meets the instructional needs of the district and the committee thinks it’s in the best interest of the students.”

In other business, the board recognized members Louis Clyburn and Mara Horton Jones for their service to the school district. 

Senator Thomas McElveen presented Jones with a senate resolution to thank her for her service. 

“We know how much she has put into serving on this board and doing so much for children in Kershaw County, beyond just her board service,” McElveen said.

A reception was held for Clyburn and Jones prior to the board meeting.

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