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Ground broken for three new schools

Posted: May 25, 2017 4:56 p.m.
Updated: May 26, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Wateree Elementary School (WES) students Noah Brown (far left), Sarah Zeller (third from left), Harmony Addison (fourth from right) and David Miller (second from right) assist WES staff, teachers, members of the Kershaw County Board of Trustees and others in a groundbreaking ceremony for a replacement facility on Monday morning.

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In what is likely to become a new record -- at least in Kershaw County -- the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) held three groundbreakings for new elementary schools in the space of three hours Monday.

At 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., the district held groundbreaking ceremonies for replacement facilities for Camden, Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools, respectively. Each will cost approximately $21 million to build and are part of a larger, $129 million voter-approved series of construction and improvement projects for the district.

The new Camden Elementary School (CES) will be built on the grounds of the former site of Camden Middle School, on Laurens Street, across from where the original Camden High School (CHS) once stood.

“And it will echo the old Camden High’s appearance,” KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said during the first ceremony there. “I have passed by this lot for five years hoping for this day.”

An hour later, Morgan said nearly the same about the new Lugoff Elementary School (LES) that will be built adjacent to the current school on Ridgeway Road in Lugoff. The only difference is the number of years involved. Morgan said he had been driving past that school for 10 years with a dream of replacing the building. He was unable to attend the Wateree Elementary School (WES) groundbreaking on Wildwood Lane in Lugoff, due to a meeting. KCSD Executive Director for K-12 Instruction Tim Hopkins handled introductions at that site.

Back on Laurens Street, CES Principal Carol Przybyla said she appreciated the support of district staff and parents to make the school’s future home a reality.

“Teachers and students will have a school with classes for the 21st century,” Przybyla said, “with lots of great technology.”

The new CES will be a two-story construction, using a façade that will, as Morgan said, echo what CHS looked like when it stood across the street. The new LES will also be a two-story construction, but look more like Jackson School on U.S. 1 in east Camden. Although students will continue to attend school in LES’ current facility during construction of the new building, LES’ multipurpose room will be demolished over the summer to make way room for the new school.

“It will be replaced with a building to prepare students for the 21st century,” Morgan said, echoing what Przybyla said of the new CES. “It will serve the community as a focal point for many years to come.”

LES Principal Melissa Lloyd called Monday a “super wonderful day” for Lugoff.

At WES, Hopkins pointed out that the current school was built in 1957. The replacement school -- to be a one-story construction duplicating Jackson School’s appearance -- will be constructed where four baseball fields current sit.

“We can’t thank the community enough,” Principal Gail Stehle said. “We want to make school a fun learning environment and this new school will do that.”

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