Mount Pleasant Town Council unanimously approved Tuesday a report calling for the construction of a second high school and a new elementary school within six years.
"We all know that schools are one of the top reasons people come to this town," said Councilman Paul Garwych, who headed the Blue Ribbon Committee Council on Education, which wrote the report. "We hear all the time about the schools. They're overcrowded. We need to help them catch up."
The new high school would be built at the site of the old Wando High School, now called Wando South. The current school, with an enrollment pushing 4,000, was built in 2004. An additional high school could accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 students, cutting Wando's enrollment in half.
Five schools in Mount Pleasant are projected to be over capacity when classes reconvene in August, including Wando and two elementary schools. Three other schools are projected to have an enrollment between 90 and 100 percent capacity.
Mount Pleasant's rapid population growth is predicted to continue, with 5,000 new housing units approved for construction throughout the nearly 75,000-person town
The report also calls for the construction of a new regional football stadium that would be shared by the two high schools. Wando's current stadium is at the Wando South location and would be demolished in order to allow the construction of a new high school.
Councilman Gary Santos' only concern was the shared stadium limiting space for children and the community.
"I like the idea of two stadiums," Santos said. "I will vote for this ... but I am concerned about having only one stadium for both schools."
The report will be weighed by the Charleston County School Board as it draws up a list of prospective building projects.
More development approved
The council also approved the impact assessment and conceptual plan for phase two of The Boulevard, an apartment and retail development along Coleman Boulevard. The new phase, planned for Pherigo and King streets, includes a parking garage.
Council members had a lengthy debate about which - if any - elected officials should get a pay raise. Santos suggested a referendum on member and mayoral pay, while Councilman Chris Nickels said voters would never approve a pay raise, necessitating council action. Smith, who does not accept his $8,500 salary, said he could not support a council pay raise, but would support the proposed doubling of Mayor Linda Page's pay to $50,000 per year. Page, however, did not want a raise.
"It's not a concern of mine and it's not why I ran," she said.
While the council adjourned without approving any pay changes, Page left the door open to explore the possibility of a switch from a part-time to a full-time mayor while retaining a council-manager system of government.
Reach Amanda Coyne at 937-5592 or on Twitter at @AmandaCCoyne
Editor's note: A previous version of this story included incorrect information about the location of the parking garage included in the second phase of The Boulevard. Also, Councilman Chris Nickels was incorrectly identified. These errors have been fixed.
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