Mount Pleasant is growing like a weed, same as all those East Cooper kids.
Right now the town's population is about 73,000, and apparently most of them are high school age. Next year, Wando High School will be 26 percent over capacity.
And it's only 10 years old.
There are so many trailers sitting around Wando right now that Fodor's recently featured them in a guidebook marketed to tornadoes. Yes, it's getting that ridiculous.
And Mount Pleasant has finally had enough.
Mayor Linda Page has set up a committee to communicate with the Charleston County School District about the town's pressing needs. Basically, they need schools.
Rock Hill is the fifth-largest city in the state and it has three high schools. Mount Pleasant is No. 4. One is clearly not enough.
The good news is that they can expect the school district to listen closely to their concerns. See, right now the district is trying to get a sales tax referendum on the November ballot to continue with their monumental building needs.
And a lot of people vote in Mount Pleasant.
In other words, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
At the rate this is going, Mount Pleasant is going to need a third high school before it gets a second one.
"We thought we'd be good for 10 years," says town Councilman Elton Carrier.
This is not the district's fault. After all, Wando had room for 20 percent growth when it was built. But that space was overtaken within a few years.
Carrier says Mount Pleasant's population is liable to hit 100,000 by 2040, and that may be a conservative estimate. Time to get moving.
So why isn't there already a second high school? Well, the district thought Wando would last longer. And they have plenty of other building needs. Then there's politics.
As school board member Elizabeth Moffly says, there's always been a fear that another high school would divide the town. Everybody would still want to go to Wando.
Sound familiar, Summerville?
Two decades ago, folks in Dorchester County said the same thing when the school district decided Summerville High was getting too big and opted to build Fort Dorchester High.
"There were folks who feared it would divide the community," recalls Berlin G. Myers Jr., who was on the Dorchester 2 school board at the time. "In spite of those concerns, there never was a huge problem."
Once the decision was made, Myers says, people realized it was not the end of the world. They accepted it. Probably because they realized Summerville High was bursting at the seams. Since then, they've added Ashley Ridge High.
So Mount Pleasant doesn't need to worry. If there is one high school football team with a bigger following than Wando, it is Summerville.
If they can do it, so can East Cooper.
All the votes you need
As Carrier says, it's a little early to worry about concerns over a divided community.
First there has to be money to build a new high school, and that could take as much as $100 million. Now, they could save money by having only one football stadium - after all, Carrier says, how many times do those get used in a year?
Mount Pleasant feels like it has been hosed by the school district to some extent. They feel like they already need a new elementary school in addition to the high school. They're right.
The town expected to get an additional elementary school in this round of buildings. In the district's defense, there are great needs all over the county. They have to spread the love around.
But you also need to build where the people are, and that's Mount Pleasant.
No doubt the school district will listen carefully to the mayor's committee. And if district officials are smart, they will put the promise of a couple of new schools in writing on the referendum, which is likely coming later this year.
It could make the difference in whether the sales tax for school building passes or not. See, people in Mount Pleasant vote.
And there are more of them every day.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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