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As students return to class, Fort Mill schools eye where to put new ones

As Fort Mill students returned to class Monday, the school district is working on plans for a new elementary school.
As Fort Mill students returned to class Monday, the school district is working on plans for a new elementary school. Rock Hill

As the Fort Mill School District welcomed students to its 16 schools on Monday, work already is underway on the next ones.

Next to the new Catawba Ridge High School, expected to open this time next year on Fort Mill Parkway, the district is looking to rezone more than 34 acres for a new school.

According to a rezoning application submitted to the town, the school district wants to rezone and combine three properties to create a site for a new elementary school.

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The town planning commission will meet to discuss the rezoning on Tuesday. Fort Mill Town Council will follow, making the final decision.

School district voters approved a $190 million bond referendum in March to pay for three new schools and land for future schools. Plans called for two elementary schools to open in 2020, and a middle school to come in 2021.

In 2015, voters approved a $226 million bond package to pay for the new Catawba Ridge and a new middle school, aquatics center, training facility and land for future schools.

The district has had more than a half dozen school bonds approved in the past three decades, due largely to the need for more school space because of community growth.

By several federal Census accounts, the Fort Mill and Tega Cay areas served by the school district are some of the fastest-growing areas of their kind in the country.

Want a glimpse of what Fort Mill School District's third high school will look like? Check out this simulated flyover of Catawba Ridge High School. Please note that this is a representation and the design may be subject to some adjustments. The ne

That growth will be evident when the planning commission meets Tuesday. Yet more homes and businesses are on the table in Fort Mill, up for commission and then council approval.

More than seven acres at the corner of Pleasant and Whitley roads are up for annexation. Plans there are for a townhome neighborhood, extending and more than tripling the number of homes on one area located just south of the property. The new neighborhood would add 51 units. The existing neighborhood is approved for 21 townhomes.

The new site is just across from Pleasant Knoll Elementary School.

Almost five acres at the corner of Kimbrell Road and Kimbrell Crossing Drive is up for annexation. The property backs up to S.C. 160, near the recreation complex owned by the town. The owner is looking to rezone the property to allow for a daycare. Town planning staff initially recommended against the plan, but now the staff supports it with recent changes.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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