DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester District 2 school board members took a special tour Wednesday to check on the progress of three soon-to-be-opened schools.
"So much care and love have gone into these buildings to make sure their safe, kids have what they need and can be ready on time." Board chair Lisa Tupper said.
Dorchester District 2 is on a timeline to open the new elementary schools by the first day of school, Aug. 15.
"All the schools are racing throughout the state, dozens of schools are supposed to open and all of us have about the same timeline," Superintendent Joe Pye said.
While work was slower than expected, but board members are encouraged by the progress.
"You can see furniture is in every classroom, in all three schools and the classroom is the number one importance for us to open," Pye said.
Dorchester County voters approved the $179 million referendum in 2012 to help fund the new schools and ease overcrowding. According to the superintendent, the district grows by around 600 kids a year.
New schools include Alston-Bailey Elementary on U.S. Highway 78; Dr. Eugene Sires Elementary on Miles Road; and Sand Hill Elementary on Highway 61 and Summers Drive.
According to the district, projected opening enrollment numbers are 831 for Alston-Bailey Elementary, 633 for Sand Hill Elementary, and 885 for Dr. Eugene Sires Elementary.
Each school can hold up to 1,000 at capacity.
"It is exciting to see all the work going on," Tupper said. "All the final pieces coming together and just another couple weeks."
District officials say building inspections still need to be complete before the public is allowed access, which could mean a tight turnaround for teachers.
"Everything seems to be fine for Aug. 15 opening for kids, but we'd like to get teachers in here and get rooms fixed up," Pye said, "and perhaps still offer an open house or something prior to that, even if it's the weekend or the night before."
"Three new schools, that's a lot of new schedules and routes to get settled in so there may be so hiccups," Tupper said, "but our people are going to be working to make sure kids are safe, they get where they need to be on time… we're going to make sure that's all smooth, it's exciting."