Renovated CCSD schools open doors for first time in 3 years

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The first day of school can be bittersweet for some students, especially when they're in a new building.

"I like it but it's kind of hard to find your way because it's so different," said Piper Carter, a sixth grade student at Buist Academy.

But educators have a different view. Charleston County School District Superintendent Nancy McGinley said renovations to Buist Academy and Charleston Progressive Academy gave the next generation of students a safe and productive learning environment.

"It's a great combination of state-of-the-art technology in new buildings and preservation of the past. It's an asset to the city," McGinley said.

The new schools had features like stowaway laptops, Smart boards and a lot of natural light. They were impressive to both teachers and students.

"The gym seems really cool because you can pull out the bleachers with a remote," Piper said.

"They're walking around wide-eyed and excited. The best thing we can say to the Charleston community is thank you. Thank you for passing the one-penny sales tax in 2010," McGinley said.

The schools originally closed in 2010 due to seismic safety concerns. The renovations made them safer in case of an earthquake, as well as with new security surveillance measures.

But new schools also meant new bus routes. Chief Finance and Operations Officer Michael Bobby asked parents to be patient.

"There are going to be delays the first few week or two as everything takes longer. We have new children. We have new routes. We have new schools downtown that used to be in different areas," Bobby said.

He said if parents encounter bus issues, they should call the Durham hotline at 843-725-3170, or talk with their child's school principal.

The threat of a bus driver strike, however, is over. Charleston County officials said Durham and the bus drivers made an agreement last spring. CCSD officials said they were constantly monitoring the situation to ensure issues did not resurface.