We Took A Look At Our School Facilities, And...
The cost to make necessary repairs at each of the county's 32 public schools exceeds $429 million dollars, and the district actually only needs 39% of space available within our schools to serve the number of students enrolled and projected to enroll over the next decade.
We studied every inch of our school campuses to determine upgrades needed to create high-quality teaching and learning environments for the children of Orangeburg County. Findings were presented across the county in a series of Community Input Meetings held over the last several years.
Together, we analyzed repair needs and enrollment data and created a school improvement plan and funding opportunity that we're calling "School Improvements of Pride by 2025."
We invite you to learn more about the facility upgrades and funding through a no-tax increase bond referendum that was passed by voters in November 2022. Details on the projects and funding are detailed on this webpage.
Just the Facts
Addition to Clark Middle (CMS); Transition Howard Middle to CMS
School configuration changes in the central area of the county include construction of an additional classroom wing at Clark Middle to serve all middle-level students, and renovating and repurposing Howard Middle for Elementary Learning.
Originally constructed as a high school, Clark Middle is a large, comprehensive campus. Recent upgrades to Clark have included roofing, windows and painting, as well as an exterior fence to enhance safety. With an addition of 28,312 square feet, Clark’s campus would be home to all middle-level students throughout the central area of the county, including those within Clark’s attendance zone and students previously zoned for Howard.
Should the community support the Bond, the new wing would tentatively open at Clark Middle in August 2024.
Construction of a New Elementary School in the East
If supported by voters, a new Holly Hill Elementary School would be constructed on the current Holly Hill Elementary site and would serve Holly Hill Elementary's student population, as well as students from nearby underutilized campuses in need of extensive repairs in the eastern area of the county, including St. James-Gaillard Elementary and Vance-Providence Elementary.
Groundbreaking for the new Holly Hill Elementary could begin as early as February of 2023, with a planned opening in August 2024.
Construction of a new Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School
Although Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School is not the oldest of the district’s campuses, the condition of the school is among the worst, according to the studies. The current Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School needs substantial repairs at an estimated price tag of nearly $54 million. Unfortunately, even with an investment of that magnitude into fixing the existing facility, architects have cautioned district officials about the projected life-span of the building itself.
In a land swap agreement with the county, the District has acquired a 95-acre parcel on Red Bank Road, which would become the site of a new Orangeburg-Wilkinson High and, with its close proximity to industrial areas, would help drive economic development into the community.
Groundbreaking for the completely new comprehensive campus would begin as early as February 2023, and open in August 2024.
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Renovate & Repurpose Howard for Elementary Learning
Whittaker, Brookdale, and Mellichamp elementary schools are within a four-mile radius of one another, and have repair costs exceeding $18 million, $9 million, and $6 million, respectively.
As part of the Bond Referendum, if approved, Howard will be transformed into an elementary campus and to serve students transitioning from Whittaker, Brookdale and Mellichamp.
Extensive repairs to Howard were recently completed, and after a year full of renovations, to include additional improvements, carline stacking, and altering some classrooms to serve early childhood students, the new Howard Elementary would open to students in August 2025.
Addition of a Middle School Wing to Lake Marion's Campus
Additional upgrades to the eastern area of the county include a middle school wing being added to Lake Marion’s campus. If supported, construction could begin in February of 2023 for this 20-classroom addition and open in August 2024 to learners from Holly Hill-Roberts Middle, currently at 32% occupancy and in need of more than $19 million in repairs, and Elloree Middle, with 26% occupancy and over $7 million needed in repair costs. Even more vital than school facilities are the programmatic possibilities that would become available to middle school students who will have access to high school coursework through certified instructors.
Renovations to Edisto Primary School (EPS); Transition Rivelon Students to EPS
Just two schools in the District, Rivelon Elementary and Edisto Primary School (EPS), exclusively serve early learners in Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade. Rivelon and Edisto Primary, both underutilized, have bordering attendance lines.
If the plan is approved by voters, minor renovations will begin at Edisto Primary School as they prepare to transition Rivelon students to EPS. Combining the student population from those two campuses increases Edisto Primary’s occupancy to 65%, allowing for hopeful continued growth in enrollment.
Updates to Athletics, Fine Arts & Playgrounds Across the County
Students deserve a well-rounded school experience, which extends from the classrooms to the playgrounds, athletics, arts and activities. As we look to address school facilities' needs to enhance academic environments, we also recognize the need to improve our playgrounds, athletic and fine arts facilities as well. Some of those improvements may include such upgrades like AstroTurf for all of our high schools, new bleachers, scoreboards, weight rooms, as well as lighting and sound upgrades to our auditoriums and sports facilities, as well as renovated playspaces for our younger students.
The Ballot Question Orangeburg County Voters Will Decide:
Shall the Board of Trustees of Orangeburg County School District, South Carolina (the “School District”) be empowered to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation bonds of the School District, in a principal amount of not exceeding $190,000,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs (including architectural, engineering, legal and related fees) of the following:
• Constructing and equipping a new Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School;
• Constructing and equipping a new East Elementary School;
• Constructing and equipping a middle school wing at Lake Marion High School;
• Constructing and equipping a new wing at Clark Middle School;
• Constructing and equipping renovations and improvements to convert Howard Middle School to an elementary school;
• Constructing and equipping renovations and improvements to Edisto Primary School;
• Constructing and equipping renovations and improvements to Elloree Elementary School;
• Constructing and equipping renovations and improvements to various components of facilities at multiple existing schools, including, among others, athletics, auditorium, fine arts, and playgrounds; and
• Constructing and equipping site improvements at various existing facilities including, among others, demolition, traffic and parking?