CLOVER — EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of articles on the upcoming Clover school district bond referendum, focusing on one of five proposed construction projects.
Voters in Clover and Lake Wylie will decide March 22 if they support the Clover school district borrowing $67 million for five school construction projects, including a new Lake Wylie elementary school.
The total estimated cost of the construction package is $99 million, school officials said, but the district will make a $32 million down payment. The district currently has six elementary schools.
Our board has had the foresight to build now instead of later before the need is passed or too pressing, said Mychal Frost, public information officer for the district.
The district does not use mobile classrooms.
If the bond does not pass, however, for the first time in Clover school district history, youll see mobile classrooms, Frost said.
According to survey results released in November by independent research firm K12 Insight, 78 percent of community respondents favor the proposed new elementary school, while 22 percent opposed it or needed more information.
A total of 1,802 community members participated in the survey conducted Oct. 15 to Nov. 1, including parents, students, employees and residents in the districts six elementary attendance zones.
The new elementary school now estimated to cost $25 million, Frost said will be on about 35 acres on Oakridge Road in Lake Wylie, across from Oakridge Middle School and behind the fire station.
All of the land being used is already owned by the district, which helps lower the total cost of the projects, Frost said.
The new school will help reduce enrollment at Crowders Creek Elementary, which is approaching 1,100, just 100 shy of the schools maximum capacity.
The Oakridge elementary school would be built for 750 students, Frost said, and designed to have future capacity of 900 if needed. Plans call for it to include a track, which is not available at Oakridge Middle because there wasnt enough land.
Oakridge Middle has a track team but doesnt have a track, Frost said. This accomplishes several things with the middle school having access to the track, providing the elementary with another outdoor space for physical education, it gives the community a first-class walking or running track, and it gives the community another athletic field for use because inside it includes a full-size football field.
Crowders Creek school has undergone changes with the completion of the capital project in the fall. The improvements include front awnings providing students coverage during drop-off and pick-up and the new $5 million central administrative office that opened Jan. 6, which freed up space in the old offices at each wing of the building for special education classrooms, and smaller resource and instructional spaces.
Frost said homeowners shouldnt expect higher property taxes if the bond passes.
It will go down because bonds sold in 2006 to build Larne Elementary and Oakridge Middle, those are being retired and paid off so the overall debt of the district is being reduced, he said.
The districts construction project manager, Cumming Corp., has been working to complete site surveys and other pre-construction steps so the projects can move forward quickly if the bond is approved, Superintendent Marc Sosne has said.
The new elementary school, which will look like no other school in the district with a slingshot or Y design, would open in August 2016.
Push to vote
Rose Cummings, chairwoman of the Vote Yes for Education bond steering committee, said the group has given about 10 presentations and has another 20 on the books through March 1 at local civic organizations and churches, as well as booster clubs and more.
Along with presentations, campaign yard signs and letter writing, the group of about eight are using social media outlets Facebook and Twitter.
We developed a bunch of frequently asked questions and add more every week on our Facebook page, Cummings said. Thats a good place for people to go and keep up with it.
She, like Frost, credits the school board for looking ahead.
The facilities are state of the art and we want to continue to keep them that way, she said. This bond is a reasonable and sound next step.
Bonds are only for capital growth, not teachers salaries and staff, which would come from the districts general operations budget.
Catherine Muccigrosso • 803-831-8166