Traffic problems at Fort Dorchester High School should be reduced under a plan that involves local governments joining forces to buy nearly 14 acres of land next to the school for $950,000.
“The district would be using part of that property to create another entrance and exit into the school, which is badly needed,” said Dorchester School District 2 spokeswoman Pat Raynor.
While the near-term goal of the land deal is a new road to the school from Patriot Boulevard, the school district, Dorchester County and North Charleston all have plans in mind for their shares of the property.
In addition to space for a new road, the school district is slated to get nearly 6 acres of land adjacent to the high school.
“First, we need it for the road,” said Mike Windham, the district’s director of community planning. “Second, we’re still talking about maybe a library there at a later time.”
Ray Anderson, special assistant to North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, said the city eventually would use its portion of the property, just under 5 acres, for a new police station.
The city’s police force operates from three precincts in different areas of the city.
The North Precinct is located in leased space at the Festival Center shopping center at Ashley Phosphate and Dorchester roads, not far from the high school.
“We’ll need to replace our North Precinct,” Anderson said. “That (land deal) gives us the ability to look at that area and plan for the growth to come.”
Dorchester County would get the corner lot at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way, and plans to build a new emergency medical services station there. Of all the future building plans, only Dorchester County’s has been budgeted.
County Deputy Administrator Ashley Jacobs said the county’s Medic 6 unit is now stationed at Ashley River Fire Department on Dorchester Road and eventually would relocate.
“It would be a more central location in the district,” Jacobs said.
The county has money in its capital plan to start construction on the building as early as the second half of next year.
The school district is hoping to eventually join forces with the county to build a library, but money has not been budgeted, and the library was not included in the school district’s bond referendum to fund new building projects.
“We just couldn’t get together with County Council enough to put it in the bond referendum,” Windham said.
The bond referendum is funding other renovations at the high school, focused on new career and technology areas.
North Charleston is taking the lead on the land purchase, which has been agreed upon but not yet completed. The land currently is owned by Life Center Ministries, which had listed the property for sale.
The cost of the land will be divided among the three governments in proportion to the amount of the property they will own.
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