As construction crews worked immediately next door on a new facility, the students, faculty and staff of Lugoff Elementary School (LES) celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday morning.
LES Principal Melissa Lloyd invited her predecessors and past faculty, staff and students to the celebration, which included a short program, a chance to look at old pictures and yearbooks, and some snacks in the cafeteria.
Lloyd began with an overview of LES’ history. She said the school was constructed in 1966, becoming the first all-electric school in the county. Dedicated in August 1967, the school was originally built to house 600 kindergarten through 5th Grade students. It originally consisted of two classroom buildings and administrative wing, which housed administrative offices, library, cafetorium and a health room. Due to rapid growth in the West Wateree, the district remodeled and expanded LES in 1984, after which it then comprised three classroom wings with 28 classroom, the cafeteria, art and music rooms, multipurpose room, computer lab and library.
“Presently, the new Lugoff Elementary is under construction and we are all very excited about that,” Lloyd exclaimed.
She explained that the two-story building will increase the school’s square footage from 60,600 square feet to 92,000 square feet and, at its fullest capacity, house 800 students. There will be 38 classrooms, ranging from 800 to 1,200 square feet each, teacher workrooms on each hallway, computer lab, art room, library, gym and administrative wing.
“We anxiously await being able to move into our new home, which is slated to be in December 2018,” Lloyd said.
She also honored her predecessors, three of whom were present Wednesday.
“None of this could have been accomplished without the exceptional leadership of administrators who were visionaries and set the course,” Lloyd said.
In addition to Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan, the three former principals -- Robert Falls (1967-1971), Dr. James Ann Lynch Sheley (1989-1998) and Dr. John M. Gardner (1998-2004) -- served as guest speakers. Lloyd noted that three others were not in attendance Wednesday.
“We … recognize the dedication and tenacity of Dr. Mary Jones (1977-1984), who was unable to be with us today because of the recent passing of her husband, and of two other principals who are no longer with us in body, but will remain with us always in our hearts,” she said, referring to Warner Brown (1971-1977) and Amy J. McLester (1984-1989). “Each of these fine leaders have left their unique marks on LES and have helped to make it the wonderful school that it is.
Following the former principals’ comments, current 5th Grade student Keara Brevard read a poem called “A Moved School.” The LES Chorus, directed by Robin Courson, sang “God Bless America” at the beginning of the program and Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” at the program’s conclusion.
Lloyd ended the formal program by saying that she “could not have asked for a better day” to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary thanks to blue skies and mild temperatures.
Afterward, former faculty and staff roamed the halls on their way to the cafeteria, looking at themed art displays from the school’s five decades. In some cases, they found pictures of themselves. In the cafeteria, LES laid out many past yearbooks and scrapbooks. On the wall that now separates the current school from the new construction, students made a mural of the number “50” made of small squares they individually decorated.
The new LES -- along with a new Camden Elementary School and Wateree Elementary School -- is being built as part of a voter-approved referenda slate of projects.