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New ATEC design unveiled

Posted: April 20, 2017 4:50 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Provided by the KCSD/

A portion of the front facade of the proposed new ATEC (Applied Education Technology Campus) to be built near I-20 Exit 98. The facility has been redesigned since first proposed in 2014 to include amenities that were originally going to be shared with Kershaw County and Central Carolina Technical College. Groundbreaking should take place in December and construction completed by mid-2019.

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The new Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) will sport a revised design when it is completed in mid-2019. Thanks to voter-approved referenda authorizing Kershaw County School District (KCSD) construction projects and a penny sales tax to fund them, ATEC is being moved from U.S. 1 in east Camden to the joint Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) and Kershaw County Economic Development site off U.S. 521 near I-20 Exit 98.

The idea is to streamline and improve the process of creating a trained and ready workforce in the county by providing seamless access between ATEC, CCTC and the county’s economic development office.

During Tuesday night’s Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting, KCSD Director of Operations Billy Smith presented the new look in three forms: a floor plan, partial rendering of the front façade and a 3D model of the entire site showing where ATEC, the expanded CCTC facilities and a new economic development center are being constructed.

“So, five and a half months ago we had nothing; we had dirt and a vision,” Smith said, showing an aerial view of how the site looked before construction began.

Voters approved the construction projects and penny sales tax during the 2016 general election. Voters rejected similar proposals in 2014. Smith noted that, then, the district and county were “supposed to share a lot of things,” including a large, shared meeting space.

“The county had to move on … so, when we go through this, we’ve had to put some more things in ATEC that were not picked up and shared between the three,” Smith said, referring to the district, county and CCTC.

He then revealed the 3D rendering of the campus.

“This is what we hope ATEC will look like … 18 months from December,” Smith said, referring to an expected groundbreaking late this year. “We hope that’s what it’ll look like in a couple of years when you ride by there.”

Smith and Eddie Rodelsperger, of Pike-McFarland-Hall Consultants, said the redesigned ATEC will be 112,000 square feet in size, including an additional 7,000-square-foot multipurpose room that can seat 400-500 people. By comparison, Smith said, the new economic development building will only be 40,000 square feet in size.

“This (multipurpose room) is one thing that was supposed to be shared that got left out by the county and CCTC … that was supposed to be adjacent to our culinary arts program. It’s going to be an addition because it kind of puts us over … the square footage that we allotted for the space that we have,” Smith said, later adding that it will be largest available meeting space in the county.

He and KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said the district would certainly allow the county and CCTC to use the space. It could also be rented out, they said.

“We could close this off and have functions in there and bring in food from (the left) side and everybody can come in and out without having to go through the whole school. We are pleased with the process,” Smith said, adding that the ATEC team -- including stakeholders, engineers, designers and architects -- are meeting with the county about every two weeks to trade information and talk about infrastructure needs.

Smith said the county’s legislative delegation is working to get extra money for that infrastructure.

He also told trustees that the district is meeting with general contractors, engineers and architects Friday about the construction of new Camden, Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools and hopes to have an update at the board’s next meeting. Smith also said there will be a preconstruction meeting April 27 for the contractors involved in the roofing project at Mt. Pisgah Elementary School. There was also a pre-bid meeting earlier Tuesday for digital signs for North Central high and middle schools and Bethune Elementary School, with hopes of having North Central High School’s installed before graduation.

In other business, KCSD Superintendant Dr. Frank Morgan said the district-wide, all-employee survey was scheduled to go live online Wednesday. He also reminded trustees of Thursday’s Teacher of the Year gala at Camden High School, Saturday’s Special Olympics at Camden Military Academy, upcoming budget public meetings, and a food service appreciation banquet on May 4.

The board also went into a long executive session to discuss undisclosed employment matters and “negotiations incident to a proposed contractual arrangement.” When trustees returned, they voted unanimously to accept the administration’s recommendation regarding the undisclosed employment matters and also, unanimously, to accept the administration’s recommendation regarding “Employee A.”

KCSD Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd explained in an email Wednesday morning that the vote accepted the administration’s recommendation to reassign “Employee A.”

(Coming Tuesday: The board creates a subcommittee to work with county council on school resource officer funding and growth issues after its first detailed look at the district’s proposed 2017-18 budget.)

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