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School repairs set to start this summer

By Heather Walters

Changes to some schools in the Colleton County School District are set to begin.

The Colleton County School Board recently approved a facilities maintenance plan that allowed for repairs and upgrades at several of the district’s schools. This plan includes upgrades to Bells Elementary School, which has been the controversial subject for months amid school board members and the community. A new Bells Elementary School cannot be funded right now, according to district officials. These repairs, however, do alleviate some of the largest areas of concern for parents and teachers.

According to the plan, Bells Elementary School will be receiving $43,320 in upgrades that include fixing pot holes, improving the parent drop-off area, repairing a water line, replacing tile on a ramp and repairing a septic tank.

Also facilities that will receive upgrades are Colleton County High School (new security cameras and gym floor sanding); Colleton County Middle School (refurbishment of chairs in the mini auditorium, new roof on the maintenance shed, pressure washing, new bleachers, and landscape upgrades); and at Cottageville Elementary School (painting all classrooms and adding concrete walkways to the play area). Other repairs will be done at Forest Hills Elementary (playground fencing); Hendersonville Elementary, Northside Elementary, TCTC and the district’s buildings and main office.

All repairs and upgrades will occur this summer, with most of the repairs beginning June 9th.

The plans are phase one in a 3-part project that Interim Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster and district Grounds and Maintenance Director Kenny Blakeney presented to the school board. According to Foster, such a plan is needed to keep the district’s current buildings in proper working order.

The only modification to the original plan is at Blackstreet Elementary, with Blakeney saying those originally-proposed changes are “no longer necessary at this time.”

The cost for phase one is $1.5 million.

This money is coming out of a near $1 million account that consists of leftover cash from the 2006 IP construction bond, which built the district’s new Colleton County High School and renovated several other schools. This money must be spent before July 1 or the district will face federal penalties, according to district finance Director Billy Saunders.

Heather Walters (1738 Posts)