Dorchester 2 announces 3 of 4 new school plans and locations - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Dorchester 2 announces 3 of 4 new school plans and locations

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As part of the $179 million bond referendum Dorchester 2 voters approved last year, four new schools will be built. We now know where three of those four new schools will be located.

School officials announced the majority of their plans earlier today.

One elementary and one middle school will be built near the corner of Highway 61 and Summers Drive in MeadeWestvaco's East Edisto development. MeadeWestvaco is donating 60 acres or more of land for the schools. The company is also donating $2.5 million for an upgraded auditorium at the site.

They will be built using basically the same plans as the current Eagle Nest Elementary and River Oaks Middle Schools. Those schools share a campus and are connected in the middle. Each school will have their own cafeteria, but a central kitchen will be used to save money. The middle school will be the new location for Rollins Middle School of the Arts.

The current Rollins campus in downtown Summerville will be converted and turned into the new Dorchester District 2 offices.

Another elementary school will be built using the current Pye Elementary design. That school will be built on land the district purchased next to the Coastal Center off Miles Jamison Road.

Justin Farnsworth is a vice president with Citigroup, but he is also a parent who co-chairs the public oversight committee for this project. He is excited about what this means for kids. "It just alleviates the overcrowding. And really it gives a better educational opportunity overall. Instead of having 27 kids in a classroom, we can get that down to 21 or 22."

Superintendent Joe Pye says the new schools will help move kids out of mobile classrooms, and allow the district to finally catch up to the current student population. "We've been playing catch up for years. And when we open, we will have caught up. And the limited seats we have on opening day, and we should have a few, will go quickly."

Pye says he hopes to see the 3 elementary schools open by the start of school in 2015. The middle school should open shortly after that.

The 3rd elementary school that will be built has not yet been announced, because the district is still in the process of working out a land deal on that property.  That school will also use the Pye Elementary design.

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