Dorchester School District Two moving forward with building plan

By Sonya

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Dorchester School District Two school board is moving forward after the bond referendum passed last month.

The board held a public workshop Friday to discuss the plans for the district's building program. No decisions were made, but members were able to ask questions and talk openly about the upcoming construction projects.

"Whether we are going to have one big construction firm oversee it or multiples, putting out proposals, and getting proposals from those firms that might be able to help us in that regard," said Dorchester School District Two School Board Chairman Frances Townsend.

The new schools are needed because of the overcrowding.

"We have 180 trailers now on our campuses -- that is 3,500 children who spent their day in a mobile classroom and that is the first consideration," said Townsend.

Proposals will go to different firms until the right company or companies come along.

"There will be a bid process, interview process, and all that will take place over the next couple of months," said Townsend. "In the meantime, we can still get more information on some of the aspects of building and planning."

A few select members on the board will decide which company or companies get the job.

Four new schools will be built: three elementary schools and a replacement for Rollings Middle School of the Arts. The current Rollings building will be converted to the district building, so the current school district building can be used by Summerville High School for career and technology education programs.

"It's very important that we stay in the context of what we say we are going to do and also do it within the budget that we have to deal with and try to get the most bang for the buck," said Superintendent Joseph Pye.

The district has $187 million to build the new schools, which the school board feels is adequate to get the job done.

"They demonstrated that they really put children first, kids first, they also want to make sure that we are transparent with the public," said Pye. "I think they have got all the right ingredients there."

The goal is to have the new schools open in August 2015, which means breaking ground hopefully this summer.

The school board could meet again as early as next week and then will be meet at least every two weeks starting after the first of the year.