CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCBD) — Six years after voters approved a one cent sales tax to fund its building program, the Charleston County School District (CCSD) is trying to change the plans for Stono Park Elementary School.
The referendum listed 31 projects. Some were renovations, some were new construction, and five were listed as ‘construction and equipping’. Of the five in that category, four have brand new buildings. If the board approves the change, Stono Park will be renovated.
“We got gypped, and it’s not right,” said Kim Marion, a Stono Park parent. “I mean St. Andrews got a new school, Oakland got a new school, and they look like college campuses. Meanwhile this school looks like [it was built in the 50s].”
According to the CCSD Deputy for Capital Projects Jeff Borowy, it will cost $9M to renovate Stono Park, while a rebuild would run $26.6M.
“That $17M difference would mean other projects on the list would not get done,” said Borowy.
Principal Michelle Simmons says her parents are just ready for something to be done to improve the learning environment for their kids.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want a new school, but if that’s not our reality and a full scale, significant renovation is in the plans, we would be satisfied with that,” said Simmons.
It is all going to come down to what the board defines “construction and equip” to mean. Since the other four schools in that category were rebuilt, board member Michael Miller says not doing the same for Stono Park would go against precedent.
“As a board, we ought to continue that and build Stono Park,” Miller told News 2.
Borowy says, building a school with a 600 student capacity in that attendance zone does not make sense at this time, especially at cost to other projects that could be finished with money from the tax that expires in 2016.
Regardless of whether it is a rebuild, or renovation, Stono Park will be moving to a “swing-space” next year. Students will be going to the old St. Andrews school in the fall until the work is finished.