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First day visits to new ‘earthquake ready’ schools, construction - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

First day visits to new ‘earthquake ready’ schools, construction continues

James Simons Elementary set to open in October James Simons Elementary set to open in October
Fine arts center at Charleston Progressive Academy will open in October Fine arts center at Charleston Progressive Academy will open in October
Computer lab at Charleston Progrssive Academy Computer lab at Charleston Progrssive Academy
CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

More than 45,000 Charleston County students filled classrooms Wednesday for the first day of school.

Some of the students are in new buildings that are earthquake ready while others still have to wait.

During her school tour, Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley stopped by the temporary North Charleston campus for James Simons Elementary.

"So far so good, I've been visiting schools where we have new principals or new programs," said McGinley.

The students there are set to move into their new building in downtown Charleston in about nine weeks.

McGinley said, "It will have all of the space required to have individual teaching stations."

James Simons will eventually become a montessori school focusing on a different way of teaching.

"The montessori classrooms have multi-age students. So you might see as we did today a three, four and five year old classroom," said McGinley.

The Charleston Progressive Academy on Meeting Street downtown is another school that has been rebuilt to be earthquake safe. The students are all moved in, but some of the school is still under construction.

The fine arts center for the 22 million dollar building will be done in October. The playground is set to open in another week and a half.

The new schools feature computer labs and large windows for natural sunlight.

McGinley said, "The teachers, the parents, the students who have walked into these new schools are just in awe of the new building."

Dr. McGinley says the district worked hard to open these new schools, making them earthquake ready within three years.

"That's a very difficult accomplishment because in downtown Charleston, we not only have the historic guidelines we must adhere to but we have the challenge of building in very congested areas," said McGinley.

Wednesday afternoon Dr. McGinley also visited Laing Middle School and Buist Academy. She says Laing has more 6th graders than expected. The district will bring in more teachers to reduce class sizes

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