Fort Mill Times

New high school taking shape in Fort Mill

The Fort Mill School District submitted drawings of its coming third high school for appearance review in Fort Mill.
The Fort Mill School District submitted drawings of its coming third high school for appearance review in Fort Mill. FMSD

The Fort Mill School District submitted drawings of its newest high school for appearance review in Fort Mill. The district wants approval for the site layout to move forward with grading.

More detailed design drawings for the school comes later.

The town planning commission got a first look in May, with an update last week.

“The drawings reviewed (last) week are substantially consistent with the ones reviewed in May,” said Joe Cronin, town planning manager. “The first review was more of a preliminary discussion of the drawings to make sure there weren’t any major issues with the site plan before the district got too far along with in the design process.”

The planning commission didn’t take any votes in May.

“The district is now in a position to move forward with clearing and grading of the site, so this time around, the planning commission actually voted to approve the site plan, including the access points, driveway locations, building and field locations, and general site layout, so that a land disturbance permit could be issued by the town,” Cronin said.

The site sits along the southwest corner of Fort Mill Parkway and Whites Road. The main building has two entrances off the bypass. A football stadium, soccer and lacrosse field, track space and three practice fields lay to the southeast, buffered by trees and a stream. A band practice field faces the bypass, between the two entrances. Baseball, softball and tennis facilities will be built along the western edge of the property.

The final phase of the Fort Mill Parkway southern bypass has been completed and the new route opened to traffic June 30. The $27 million project took 13 years to complete.

The current plan has a high school with brick veneer and stone accents, and fiber cement wall panels. An eight-foot pedestrian path will be built along Fort Mill Parkway and Whites Road. They will connect to internal sidewalks.

Other details are to be determined. A lighting plan will be needed. One hasn’t been provided to the town yet. The initial site plan shows the layout of the building, parking lots and driveways.

“The buildings themselves, as well as a few other items – lighting plan, sidewalk plan and landscaping plan — will still need to come back for subsequent review and approval,” Cronin said.

Other detailed features – school name, mascot, color scheme – are still a ways off. But the district has time.

“High school No. 3 is slated to open in 2019,” said Kelly McKinney, school district spokesperson.

Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education, came to Fort Mill on Wednesday to meet with local educators. Her message was clear: keep leading the state.

Other town plans

The school district isn’t the only group submitting plans in Fort Mill. Kuester Commercial recently submitted a plan for flexible office space at 1474 S.C. 160 East. The almost 19,000-square-foot building will be built on a now vacant lot. A sidewalk isn’t required, though the town will ask for one to tie into neighboring properties.

Kuester submitted a design in July, but the new one minimizes the sight of metal siding and adds landscaping along a retaining wall.

The town also has three annexation requests to consider, though they are much smaller than recent proposals. The three, combined, total about five acres. The annexations are on Haire and Sutton roads.

The town should grow by another 200 homes, based on an Aug. 23 vote. Residents in the Huntington Place area petitioned to annex themselves into town limits. Only those residents got to vote. They approved the annexation by a 4-1 margin. As area comes into town limits, it could spring a development agreement to bring the Lakebridge subdivision in too, by making it contiguous to town limits.

Huntington Place would be the second community to come into town limits by a community vote, following neighboring Sandy Pointe which made the move in 2012.