Although not originally scheduled to open until January 2009, Nation Ford High School is expected to begin its second year in August with its first senior class and a new 22-classroom wing.
The addition of one more class level is expected to reduce crowding at Fort Mill High School and give both schools about 1,300 to 1,400 students each, school officials said.
Nineteen additional teachers have been hired to accommodate the senior class, Principal Beverley Bowman said.
"The new wing is going to be a replica of one of the other wings," Bowman said. "It's going to have 22 classrooms, but in addition to two chemistry and two biology classrooms, we'll have another business lab and another computer lab."
Classes will be grouped in wings according to subject until the administration decides whether to create a freshman wing, she added.
Jim Britton of Southern Management Group, the school district's construction manager, said he's pleased that the new wing, which had been part of the school's master plan, not only was completed ahead of schedule, but came in about $1.5 million under budget.
"We hope to move in in middle to late July," he said. "We saved time and money by doing it earlier, having done it once already, using multiple primary contractors, and we hit the market at the right time."
Here are some facts about the new wing:
Cost per square foot: $117
Size: 32,350 square feet
Special classrooms: Two chemistry and two biology labs
Funding: Part of a $70.3 million Installment Purchase Plan, a type of mortgage.