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Dorchester County to break ground on $5.9M joint-venture library with Dist. 2 Schools

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 8:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 12:23 AM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A new joint-use library being built in a partnership between Dorchester County and Dorchester County School District 2 will split into two sections during school hours once it opens next year.

The library will be located along Patriots Boulevard, next to the North Charleston Aquatic Center, and steps away from Fort Dorchester High School’s campus in North Charleston.

Renderings for the project were provided by Liollio Architecture.

“The school media resource center is going to have a regular school day, fully secure,” Dorchester County Library Executive Director Robert Antill said. “Whenever the school day ends, the public library will operate the school side and the public side of the library throughout the night.”

Although the facility will total 15,000 square feet, around 5,000 square feet will be sectioned...
Although the facility will total 15,000 square feet, around 5,000 square feet will be sectioned off for students during school hours, with the remaining 10,000 square feet being reserved for public use.(Dorchester County Government)

The facility will cost $5.9 million to build, with the school district contributing $1.1 million, about a third of the cost. The school district deeded over the 5.5 acres of land the building will stand on to the county in March.

Although the facility will total 15,000 square feet, around 5,000 square feet will be sectioned off for students during school hours, with the remaining 10,000 square feet being reserved for public use.

District Two Board Chair Gail Hughes said the project has been several years in the works and brings more classroom space to a growing part of the county.

She adds some students don’t have access to WiFi at home, and the library will give them another place for them to study, plus give nearby seniors another place to check out books.

Neighbors said they are on board with the new facility.

“It’s a benefit for the kids as well,” neighbor Frank Arnold said. “My kids are out of school, but if my kids attended Fort Dorchester, that’s something that I would be happy they’re putting in for the students.”

Inside, the library will feature traditional offerings, such as books, videos and meeting space. It will also come with a STEM Lab, a maker’s space and an audio/video editing suite.

The county says they expect between 750 to 1,000 to use the library each day.

“Not only are we getting a new public library there, but the school system is getting a state-of-the-art multimedia center,” Dorchester County Councilmember Todd Friddle said. “We’re doing it as a joint venture. We’re saving tax dollars by working together.”

Friddle also said the county is looking to add a bus stop at the library site to help shuttle people to and from the facility.

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for next Monday at 10 a.m.

The county said they expect the library to take about a year to complete and hope to open its doors in July 2023.

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