School district hurries to meet growth in Dorchester County - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

School district hurries to meet growth in Dorchester County

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Educators in Dorchester School District 2 are building four new schools, renovating several others, and moving the district's headquarters.

 The Superintendent, Joe Pye, said the school district caters to some 24,500 students.

During the last five years, student population increased by nearly 3,000 students. 

Pye attributes the growth to the quality of education.

 DD2 earned an excellent rating on their state report card this year; they earned an A on the federal rating system.

Ten schools have received the Palmetto's Finest award. Two schools won the award just last year.

"I think people are coming to the area because we have a great quality of life in our part of the world," Pye explained. "I think the calling card of people moving to Summerville is because the quality gets even better because of the school district."

With the new families, classes have swelled.

To help, in November 2012 voters approved a $179 million school improvement bond referendum to build the four new schools and fund major expansions or renovations at 11 others. Parents are pleased.

"It just alleviates the overcrowding," Justin Farnsworth, parent, said. "And it really gives a better educational opportunity overall."

One elementary and one middle school will be built in MeadeWestvaco's East Edisto development following the design of Eagle Nest Elementary and River Oaks Middle Schools. The schools have separate cafeterias, but they share a central kitchen to save money.

A second elementary school will be built using the current Pye Elementary design next to the Coastal Center off Miles Jamison Road.

The third elementary school is planned for Highway 78 near Alston Middle School.

Combined, the four new schools add approximately 3,000 additional seats.  Pye said the new schools will help move kids out of mobile classrooms, and it allows the district to finally catch up to the current student population.

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