MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A new Mt. Pleasant high school is getting an expansion before construction crews even break ground on the new school.
The Charleston County School Board gave approval to a new design Monday night for Lucy Beckham High School to accommodate 300 more students at the school off Mathis Ferry Road.
Originally slated for a 1,200 student capacity, leaders in the district said with the rapid growth in the area, the town was in need of more room.
"If you look at 2025, looking way out, the 1,500 students we're proposing for Lucy Beckham and the roughly 4,000 capacity at Wando, we would meet that need as of right now," said Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy.
Lucy Beckham High School won't open until August of 2020.
That's when Wando High School is expected to reach more than 4,700 students.
"I think it's a good thing they're making two schools," said Annie Peeples, who graduated from Wando in 2011. "It's good for maybe more personal relationships."
So why not build bigger schools that are able to accommodate the growth in the future?
"They didn't want a school that would directly go head to head with Wando," Borowy said. "By making it a little smaller, it does two things, it puts it in a different category for the school for size, but it also offers and opportunity for residents in Mount Pleasant to potentially go to a smaller school."
Some parents aren't concerned about the number of students who will be going to these Mt. Pleasant high schools.
"With capacity, I think the way teachers are trained these days, and all the technology, I think it's good," said Sheri Champ, whose child goes to Wando. "I think we'll be fine."
"I think once they settle in they'll realize it's not a significant difference," Borowy said. "Class sizes would only increase one or two students at the most, and some classes actually decreased."
The expansion comes at a price tag of $12.2 million.
This includes the additional space for 300 students, athletic fields including two practice fields, a softball field (behind JB Edwards), tennis courts and the football field and track. The expansion also covers the purchase of land of Unity Baptist to increase the campus footprint to 48.29 acres.
The spending will come from $34 million in sales tax revenue that exceeded the costs of current building projects in the school district.
The cost for demolition and building of the new school, before the expansion, was $81.8 million.