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Charleston County considers rezoning land for new high school

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Council could pass a zoning ordinance that would allow the county’s school district to build a new middle school and high school in the Awendaw-McClellanville area.

The proposed complex would be along North Highway 17 and Jenkins Hill Road.

It would be the first high school in the area in seven years since Lincoln High School in McClellanville closed in 2016.

The 107-acre area would not only include the middle and high schools but also have baseball and softball fields, a track and multipurpose areas for the community.

Charleston County School District Constituent Board 1 Chair Thomas Colleton said this is not the first time there has been talk of a new school in the eastern part of the county since Lincoln High School closed.

To make it work this time, he says there needs to be more investment from outside his district.

To make sure there are enough students to fill the school, Colleton said the attendance lines would need to be redrawn to include some students from the neighboring Constituent District 2, which makes up Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas.

He also wants to see other agencies like the parks department take a stake in the project to meet some of the area’s other needs and draw more people in.

“If you just put us out there by ourselves then we’re doomed to fail, but if everybody comes in and takes an active role and makes this thing work, it can work,” he said.

Former local school board member Joe Bowers had apprehensions at a previous meeting over the new school.

“The location is wrong,” Bowers said. “It’s a terrible place to put a school.”

Meanwhile, a parent who lives near the newly proposed school says he wants to see students return to a smaller more local schools. Parent Eliot Middleton said, “I think one of the main things is the fact that the commute, early in the morning, kids have to travel so far to go to a much larger high school.”

Students who live in this area currently have to commute about 25 miles to Wando High School.

Colleton said he believes the project is five to 10 years from reality, adding several key steps, like funding, still need to be worked out.

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