SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A battle to rebuild Sullivan's Island Elementary School hit a major milestone Monday night. A vote by the Charleston County School Board approved the most beginning stage of the construction process, allowing the review of contracts to pour the school's foundation.
"We really get to celebrate what's really important about our community," said Loren Ziff, SIES rebuilding chairman. "Now we get to move the ball forward and not focus on the distractions of how big or how little or where. We're are going to build one of the best elementary schools in the state."
After three years of debate and 100 signs at Monday night's meeting calling for the school to be built, a decision to be made.
"Tonight's vote is about more than just pilings and foundations," said Sarah Church, who was one of 25 people who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. "It's about fulfilling a promise about our school community to rebuild our school as quickly as possible."
The school board voted 7 to 2 in favor of what they call an Early Foundation package. That means the review of contracts for pouring the foundation of the future building was approved.
Parents, students and teachers at the meeting called the vote a victory and the first small step in rebuilding a model school on Sullivan's Island.
"We're excited to get this thing moving and get our kids back in a safe exciting, new, dynamic school," Ziff said.
Opponents say the new 500 student magnet school is too big and doesn't match the character of the island. However, a Sullivan's Island design team has already approved the layout of the new school which is 72,000 square feet.
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley says it's necessary for Sullivan's Island Elementary to house more students.
Right now, SIES students and teachers are at the Mamie Whitesides Elementary School in Mount Pleasant.