Berkeley School district still searching for land for schools

Berkeley County School Board is looking at an alternative site for one of its new elementary schools and has made no decisions on the location of another, officials said this week.

The district plans to build three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate expected growth as part of its $198 million school improvement program.

Residents of Daniel Island and Hanahan’s Tanner Plantation recently have addressed the board with concerns about possible locations for the new schools.

This week, the school board unanimously decided to negotiate with Foster Creek Development for an alternative site for a school in the Hanahan area. It is too early in the process to know an exact location or size of the tract, district spokeswoman Susan Haire said Wednesday. Details may be available soon, she said.

In June, the board voted to pursue 28 acres on the Goose Creek Reservoir in Tanner Plantation. Negotiations for that land, now owned by Charleston Water System, are ongoing.

“(The) vote allows the district to explore negotiations regarding another option while continuing negotiations ... regarding the option bordering the reservoir,” Haire said.

Residents of Tanner Plantation are worried about increased traffic, the loss of a nature preserve/wildlife habitat, the suitability of the land, and the proposed buffer between the school and houses.

In addition, three residents of Daniel Island spoke to the board Tuesday about the possibility of a new elementary and/or middle school being built on Clements Ferry Road. All three opposed busing students off the island and asked that residents be allowed to have input before a location is decided.

District Superintendent Rodney Thompson assured them that the public would be consulted when the time comes.

“If there is any information or anything being discussed about a proposed location or any theories out there about a proposed location, (they) are, at best, a rumor at this point that would not have been started by this administration,” he said.

The other schools planned as a result of last year’s referendum are: Nexton Elementary, on land donated by Nexton developer MeadWestvaco, set to open in August 2015; a high school planned for a Clements Ferry Road tract owned by the family of the late Harry Frank Guggenheim to open in August 2017; and an elementary school in the FoxBank Plantation area to open in August 2018.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or twitter.com/brindge.

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