Board eyes school names, architects

FORT MILL -- Fort Mill school board members Monday wrestled with hiring architects for new schools, naming new schools and learning progress on schools under construction.

Seven-plus hours in meetings Monday also included next year's repopulating of out-of-capacity schools, whose enrollment is frozen, and capping kindergarten enrollment at Springfield Elementary, are where 149 kindergartners already signed up for the coming school year.

School officials are recommending a target kindergarten capacity of 160 at Springfield with exceptions for siblings of students already enrolled. Springfield's enrollment in grades one through five will be frozen June 6. Enrollment at Gold Hill and Orchard Park elementaries already is frozen.

The board will hold a special meeting Wednesday to select architects for projects approved March 4 in a $95.9 million bond referendum: elementary schools No. 8 and No. 9, a new middle school, Nation Ford High stadium facilities, an additional gym at both high schools and the purchase of additional school sites.

The board began holding architectural interviews at 2 p.m. Monday. In addition to selecting architects Wednesday, they expect to formulate a vote on next year's Springfield kindergarten enrollment cap.

Newly enrolled Orchard Park and Gold Hill elementary school students currently attend Riverview Elementary. Next year, overflow Springfield Elementary students will attend Fort Mill Elementary.

Chuck Epps, assistant superintendent of administration and instruction, Monday presented a proposal that includes allowing some Orchard Park and Gold Hill students currently being sent to Riverview to return to their home school in the coming year.

Meanwhile, construction consultant Jim Britton of Southern Management Group told the board that construction has started on elementary school No. 6 on Farmhouse Road. Land is being cleared for elementary school No. 7 on Pleasant Road. Both, funded by a mortgage the district took out in December 2006, are expected to open in 2009.

On Monday, board members said they are receiving community feedback on committee-recommended names -- Nation Ford Elementary for No. 6 and Pleasant Road Elementary for No. 7.

Board members Wyndie Havnaer and Diane Dasher said some community members feel elementary school No. 6, located on property adjoining Nation Ford High, should have its own identity separate from the high school. They cited a school named Nations Ford Elementary in Charlotte as another problem.

The board instructed Epps to research school names throughout South Carolina and Charlotte to avoid duplication.