The South Carolina National Guard has seen a tremendous uptick in the number of women stepping forward to serve, and as such it is making adjustments: It’s adding more latrines for women. According to The Post and Courier, nearly one out of every five state National Guard soldiers in 2019 is a woman. That has led the Guard to embark on a $2.4 million project to modernize bathroom facilities at armories across the state. “This project will allow the female soldiers to have the required number of facilities (toilets, showers, changing areas) they need to conduct training,” says a state budgeting document outlining the project, according to the paper. In 2000, the S.C. National Guard had 850 female soldiers. Today it has nearly 1,900 women. The state Guard has just more than 9,000 total soldiers. — Chris Trainor

Lawmakers to Seek Education Ideas from Elite Teachers

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives are set to ask the state’s 82 teachers of the year for their ideas on improving the state’s schools. As reported by Seanna Adcox at The Post and Courier, House Speaker Jay Lucas and House Education Committee Chairwoman Rita Allison are planning several regional discussions later this year with teachers of the year from local districts. Many teachers have complained that they were not consulted before Lucas introduced a massive education overhaul bill last year. “The complaints, echoed at legislative hearings and a 10,000-person-strong protest on the State House lawn May 1, organized by [grassroots group] SC for Ed, helped stall the bill in a year that began with leaders in both chambers, as well as Gov. Henry McMaster, pledging to fix a system that’s fallen to among the nation’s bottom,” Adcox reported. While the education bill stalled in the Senate this year, it will be available for debate again in 2020, the second of a two-year session. — Chris Trainor

Worker Killed at Columbia Construction Site

A construction worker died June 21 after an incident on a job. According to The State, Lazaro Ramirez, 38, was working at a housing development at the Burnside Farm neighborhood near Garners Ferry Road when a pallet of construction supplies fell on him. He was rushed to a local hospital, and later died. The Richland County Coroner’s Office is investigating. — Chris Trainor

Elephants Leaving Riverbanks Zoo

Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced its two elephants — Robin and Belle — will leave the zoo, making way for a Southern white rhinoceros exhibit. As reported by The State, “the zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums African Elephant Species Survival Plan to find a new herd for 48-year-old Robin and 37-year-old Belle,” a move that will enable the elephants to be part of a larger herd. “The decision to move Robin and Belle was not easy, but it is the right decision for the animals and Riverbanks,” zoo animal care director John Davis said in a release. “There is no doubt that Robin and Belle will be missed by our staff, our members, and the community.” A timetable has not been announced for the elephants’ exit. Zoo officials also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of elephants returning to Riverbanks in the future. — Chris Trainor

USC Moves Ahead With $240 Million Construction of New Dorm, Parking Deck

Trustees at the University of South Carolina have approved a new student housing complex called Campus Village that will transform the school’s south side. The 18-acre, seven-building project will include four residence halls, about 3,700 beds, a 945-space parking garage, restaurants and stores. The entire project is forecast to cost $460 million, but university architect Derek Gruner said the total cost will change over time because the project is being approved in phases. Only the first phase with one residence and the parking deck costing $240 million were approved June 21. “The university really wants to bite this off incrementally,” Gruner said. The suite-style, five- to six-story buildings will replace four older residence halls that date back 50 years. The Cliff Apartments, Bates West and Bates House have a little more than 1,000 beds. The first phase — tearing down and replacing Cliff Apartments — starts in late 2020 and the first dorm is set to open in fall 2022. There was no date given for when the entire village will be completed. — T. Michael Boddie, The Post and Courier

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