DD2 projects 16K more students, several new schools over next 10 years
DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - As schools across the Lowcountry recess for the summer, Dorchester School District Two is looking at how to plan out its anticipated future growth.
Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins said they are projecting an additional 16,000 new students to enroll in the district in the next 10 years. That’s a growth of anywhere between 1,000 to 1,500 students each year.
“When Ashley Ridge High School opened, I think it opened with about 800 students,” Robbins said. “Today, they have about 27, 28-hundred students, with that number growing every single day. That’s why we look at the rezoning options for us to make sure that we’re filling all of our buildings before we try to come to the community for tax dollars to build a new facility.”
He said most of the growth is centered around the Beech Hill and Summers Corner areas, with 17,000 homes set to be built across the entire county.
“We don’t know what the build out timeline is on those,” Robbins said. “That can be over the course of 10 years, but what we do know is these homes are being built in about 120 days, and they’re being occupied by families that have school-age children.”
The district’s latest projections show if no schools were built in that time, over 3,000 students would be zoned for Sand Hill Elementary School alone.
Robbins estimates the district may need as many as six new elementary schools, one or two new middle schools and a new high school to cover demand.
He also expressed interest in holding a long-range planning session regarding their future with the county this summer.
“We’d love to engage with them on that,” Dorchester County Director of Planning and Zoning Kiera Reinertsen said. “We’re actively working on our comprehensive plan right now, we’re seeking feedback from the community and school district as well on growth issues, concerns and needs.”
In the meantime, Robbins said they will have to bring in mobile classrooms and are looking at shifting attendance lines for some schools to address current overcrowding issues.
Robbins said the attendance lines won’t be changed for the upcoming school year, but they will have discussions about potential changes for the 2024-2025 school year.
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