DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester School District Two Board of Trustees and district officials have announced the site selection for a third new elementary school, Dacusville Elementary School.
The school will be built on property the school district currently owns located on Highway 78 adjacent to Alston Middle School.
School Board Construction Committee members Sam Clark, Gail Hughes, Charlie Stoudenmire, and Superintendent Joe Pye provided details on the site selection for the last new school in the $179 million building program approved by voters last November.
District officials said there were several locations under consideration in this area of the district to serve neighborhoods in the north area of Summerville and provide some relief for several overcrowded elementary schools in the district. The Board felt that this property already owned by the district was the best choice and would allow the design process to begin quickly in order to meet projected opening dates for all three elementary schools of August 2015.
By using the site adjacent to Alston Middle School, district officials say several support services such as bus loops can be shared between the two schools which will be a cost savings. The district will use a prototype elementary school design by LS3P Architects that was used in Pickens County School District at Dacusville Elementary School. This design will include a second story which will make it more adaptable to the selected site. The school capacity would be 1,000 students.
The district's maintenance and facilities office and shop is currently located on the property and these offices will be moved to another location. There are also two ball fields on the property that community teams use for league play that will have to be relocated. The board gave approval for district staff to explore property in the area to be purchased for the ball fields.
School Board Chairman Gail Hughes said the board approved this site for the school at a called meeting following a board executive session last Thursday, and details were finalized on Friday. "It has been challenging to find available acreage that would be appropriate for new schools in our district," said Hughes.
Four new schools will add approximately 3,000 additional seats that will alleviate the overcrowded schools in Dorchester School District Two. The three elementary schools are projected to open in August 2015 and the new middle school will open in 2016. Bob Folkman, district capital improvement facilitator, said that construction on the new schools should begin in earnest in the early spring of 2014.