SUMMERVILLE - Trying to be mindful of taxpayers’ pocketbooks, Dorchester District 2 officials said Monday a new elementary school will be built next to a middle school on land the district has owned for decades.
The 1,000-student elementary school, which is part of the district’s $179 million building campaign, will be built next to Alston Middle School near U.S. Highway 78, allowing the two schools to share some facilities, such as the bus loop.
Using land it already owns will save the district – and taxpayers – about $1 million. Officials believe the district has owned the nearly 27-acre site since Alston was built on it in the early 1950s.
“We exhausted every possibility we could find looking for a site,” said Superintendent Joe Pye. “We have been looking for months at numerous pieces of property.”
To make way for the school, the district will have to eliminate two ball fields and basketball court used by the community. Pye said he hopes to relocate those fields during construction, and then to buy land adjacent to the school site to rebuild them.
“(Those fields) are part of the community,” he said. “When you go into a community you want to enhance it, but you definitely don’t want to take away something that’s already there.” The $22 million school’s two-story layout will resemble Pickens County’s Dacusville Elementary School, which was designed by Charleston-based LS3P Architects.
It will relieve overcrowding primarily at Reeves Elementary, when it opens in August 2015. Pye said the district will start looking at attendance lines in the spring.
This will be the fourth district campus to have an elementary and middle school. As part of the building program, a magnet school of the arts and an elementary school are also planned to be built side-by-side on donated land at East Edisto.
A third elementary school is scheduled to be built in Pine Trace as part of the referendum program.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.