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School construction projects update

Posted: September 18, 2017 3:17 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Last November, voters in Kershaw County approved a two-question $129 million referendum to move forward with a number of critical school construction projects. These projects were identified through a series of 14 public meetings conducted by school board members during the fall of 2015. Input from these meetings was used by the board to develop a list of proposed projects to address aging facilities, growth and safety.

In going to referendum, the board chose to ask voters to consider two questions. The first question asked voters for permission to sell bonds to pay for the proposed projects. The second question asked voters for permission to institute a 1-cent local sales tax that would end in 15 years to help pay off the bonds without increasing property tax millage. Because both questions passed, all projects will be completed without a millage increase on homes and businesses.

One of the issues that was frequently raised during the referendum campaign was whether or not the projections for money to be raised by the 1-cent sales tax were realistic. As explained at the time, very conservative projections were utilized. This is borne out by the fact that during the first four months of collection (March through June), collections were more than 50 percent above projection. This is obviously very good news!

Beyond this, because of the way in which the projects are being designed and constructed, we will be able to use a large number of local subcontractors and businesses on the projects. A few weeks ago, I reported to the school board that even at this early phase of the construction program, more than 20 local subcontractors and businesses have been utilized, keeping more than $12 million in our community. This huge economic benefit will make a tremendous positive difference in countless ways, from employment opportunities to tax revenue. A win-win for everyone!

The following is a summary of projects that are completed, under way or will be completed:

• Roof at Mt. Pisgah Elementary -- The roof over the oldest sections of the building has been replaced with a new roof that will increase the overall energy efficiency of the school.

• Renovations at North Central High School -- Work on the fire alarm system, security camera system, public address system, painting, plumbing, electrical, floor coverings, doors and door hardware replacement and upgrade of the old gym is under way.

• Addition to North Central Middle School -- An addition that will include science and other classrooms plus updated security cameras is under way. 

• New Camden Elementary School -- A new building is under construction on Laurens Street. The new facility will have a capacity of 800 students to accommodate projected growth.

• New Lugoff Elementary School -- A new building is under construction next to the current school. The new facility will have a capacity of 800 students to accommodate projected growth.

• New Wateree Elementary School -- A new building is under construction next to the current school. The new facility will have a capacity of 800 students to accommodate projected growth.

• Renovations at Lugoff-Elgin High School -- Substantial repairs to the roof and water management system were completed this summer. Additional work on the storm drainage system, security camera system, public address system, floor coverings, painting, windows, doors and door hardware, plumbing, electrical and upgrade of the old gym will begin shortly.

• New Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) on Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) site -- A new ATEC facility to be built on the site of the expanded CCTC campus is in the planning stages. It is anticipated that ground will be broken for the project sometime in December. 

The following are the other projects that will also be completed:

• Camden High -- Renovations will be made to include upgrades of the fire alarm system, security camera system, public address system, painting, plumbing, electrical, floor coverings, doors and door hardware replacement and upgrade of the old gym.

• Doby’s Mill Elementary -- An addition will be completed to accommodate projected growth in addition to upgraded security cameras and playground equipment.

• Stover Middle -- Renovations and an addition will be completed to accommodate projected growth.

• Lugoff-Elgin Middle -- An addition will be completed to accommodate projected growth.

• Mt. Pisgah/Bethune/Baron DeKalb elementary schools -- Renovations will be completed to include painting, windows, lighting and bathrooms.

• Camden High Zemp Stadium -- Safety replacement of visitors’ bleachers, restrooms, lights and electrical infrastructure will be done. 

• Lugoff-Elgin High Stadium -- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and parking improvements will be completed. 

• North Central High Stadium -- Replacement of lights, field repairs and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements will be done. 

In order to keep the public as apprised as possible about these projects, the school board is receiving updates at each of its regular public meetings, which are generally held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6 p.m. at the Kershaw County School District Office (2029 West DeKalb St., Camden). In addition, a link will be maintained on the district website (www.kcsdschools.net) with regularly updated information about the projects. We want to do everything we can to enable the public to be as current as possible about this important work.

This is certainly a great time to be in Kershaw County. I am especially excited about both the educational and economic impact these projects will have on our community. Our students and teachers deserve 21st century facilities that provide an inviting teaching and learning environment. It’s now going to happen!

I’m always pleased to talk with folks about our schools. My direct dial phone number is 425-8916 and my email is frank.morgan@kcsdschools.net. Citizens can also contact me through the Ask the Super link on the homepage of the district website. I also invite community members to read my “blog,” which can also be reached through a link on the homepage of the district website. In addition, I do a podcast after each School Board meeting summarizing the meeting. This podcast can also be accessed through a link on the district homepage. 

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