DD2 announces plans for new schools from bond referendum

By Stacy

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Administrators asked and voters delivered; they said "yes for schools" in a bond vote in November. DD2 board member Gail Hughes had a message for voters.

"Thank you for supporting Dorchester District 2 and because of that thanks, we're going to do the best we can to make everything work for all the children of Dorchester 2," Hughes said.

"We're trying to make sure the things we talked about that we were going to do become a reality," Superintendent Joe Pye said.

DD2 officials announced Wednesday how they would spend the $179 million bond. They{} secured the location of three out of the four new schools, though, they said it wasn't easy.

"There's just no land in Dorchester County," Hughes said.

They also faced seismic and flooding challenges, she said. But with the clock ticking, they had to act.

The district will put in a new elementary school near the Coastal Center off Miles Road in Ladson. With the help of Meadwestvaco, the school district will also build a joint elementary and middle school off Highway 61 near Summerville. The new building will be modeled after the current joint Eagle Nest Elementary and River Oaks Middle School.

In a combined building, each school has its own cafeteria. But to save money, they share the kitchen. Using an existing school as a prototype also will save DD2 money, as the plans are already done, officials said.

Officials admitted growth in the county has presented problems. They were trying to address them.

"We did a study to try to predict that so we wouldn't be behind the eight ball when these schools open. But, there's no way of really predicting that," Hughes said.

They hoped to announce the location of the last elementary school in the next two weeks. Officials hoped to open all three new elementary schools for the 2015 school year. They hoped to have the middle school open by January 2016.

The bond will also pay for millions of dollars worth of updates in schools across the district:

Classroom additions

  • Eagle Nest Elementary- $3.2 million
  • Oakbrook Middle- $3.9 million

Multipurpose Rooms and Other Additions

  • Flowertown Elementary- multi-purpose classroom and cafeteria expansion $4 million
  • Newington Elementary- multi-purpose classroom and cafeteria expansion $2.6 million
  • Oakbrook Elementary- multi-purpose classroom $2.4 million
  • Summerville Elementary- multi-purpose classroom $2.7 million
  • Alston Middle- related arts wing $4.9 million
  • Ashley Ridge- career and technology education wing and classroom wing $12 million
  • Fort Dorchester- career and technology education wing, multi-purpose classroom and classroom wing $17.7 million
  • Summerville- career and technology education addition and renovations $10.6 million
  • RMSA- conversion to office space $2.7 million

Other Needs

  • Roofing- $6.5 million
  • HVAC Replacement needs- $5 million
  • Installing wireless throughout the district- $1.5 million
  • Restroom renovations- $2.1 million

The three new elementary schools will hold 1,000 students each and will cost a total of about $66.8 million. The new Middle School of the Arts will hold 750 students and will cost about $31 million.