Education

Fort Mill, Rock Hill school boards move quickly on bond referendum projects

The Fort Mill and Rock Hill school boards are moving quickly to start projects approved by voters in Tuesday’s bond referendum.

The Fort Mill board met Wednesday, seeking an architect to design another middle school, and approving renovations at Fort Mill High School and increasing gym space at Gold Hill and Fort Mill middle schools. The board delayed its usual Monday meeting to meet instead after Tuesday’s referendum.

The board also voted to move forward with technology upgrades in the classrooms.

Patrick White, chairman of the Fort Mill school board, said the board and the schools are in the “constant mode” of making improvements because of the area’s rapid growth. The school district is expected to add 20,000 students over the next 10 years.

The Rock Hill school board is holding a work session Monday. Technology and security items listed in the bond referendum are a priority, said board chairman Jim Vining. The board will then start working on scheduling other projects, hoping to minimize interrupting the schools’ instruction time as much as possible, Vining said.

In Rock Hill, voters endorsed spending $110 million over five years to expand some schools, renovate others, upgrade security and technology at most schools, and buy activities buses. About 88 percent of the voters Tuesday supported the proposed improvements.

The Rock Hill school board has said it can do the work without increasing taxes. The new bond funds would be borrowed as older bonds are paid off.

In Fort Mill, voters endorsed spending $226 million over five years to build a new high school, a new middle school, an aquatics center, a training facility, acquiring land for future schools, new buses, technology upgrades and other growth-related expenses.

About 60 percent of the Fort Mill voters said “yes” to the proposed improvements. White said that “yes” percentage is lower than previous school bond referendums.

The precincts that voted against the bond referendum includes older, more established areas of the school district that have historically supported school funding, White said. The vote may reflect the feeling that these residents “have already paid their fair share,” for school improvements, he said.

Fort Mill will be raising school taxes to pay for the bonds. The new rate will increase taxes $120 for each $100,000 in assessed value.

White said the Fort Mill school board took immediate action because growth over the next five years is expected to be 7,800 students.

To get things done as quickly as possible Fort Mill school district officials had already met with architects and prequalified several firms to bid on the new middle school. White said school officials hope to select an architect by the board’s May 19 meeting.

As planned, architectural drawings would be done by October and construction at the Pleasant Road middle school site adjacent to Pleasant Knoll Elementary School could start in 2016 and be open for the 2017 school year. The proposed capacity of the new middle school is 1,000 students, White said.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

Rock Hill polling places

Polling Place Yes - No

Adnah 52 - 7

Airport 132 - 18

Allison Creek 69 - 17

Anderson Road 81 - 6

Catawba 107 - 25

Delphia 0 - 1

Ebenezer 154 - 24

Ebinport 224 - 36

Edgewood 114 - 8

Fairgrounds 47 - 2

Ferry Branch 49 - 11

Fewell Park 186 - 18

Friendship 38 - 3

Harvest 83 - 14

Highland Park 47 - 3

Hollis Lakes 134 - 9

Hopewell 44 - 17

Independence 43 - 4

India Hook 129 - 17

Lakewood 91 - 17

Laurel Creek 177 - 17

Lesslie 79 - 14

Manchester 88 - 5

McConnells 2 - 3

Mt. Gallant 139 - 21

Mt. Holly 152 - 20

Neelys Creek 42 - 23

Newport 105 - 10

Northside 48 - 5

Northwestern 262 - 36

Oakridge 113 - 28

Oakwood 126 - 20

Ogden 53 - 20

Old Pointe 94 - 4

Rock Hill No. 2 70 - 2

Rock Hill No. 3 103 - 1

Rock Hill No. 4 128 - 18

Rock Hill No. 5 191 - 18

Rock Hill No. 6 35 - 3

Rock Hill No. 7 144 - 9

Rock Hill No. 8 39 - 1

Rosewood 151 - 15

Six Mile 57 - 13

Springdale 53 - 7

Tools Fork 79 - 10

University 79 - 11

Absentee 79 - 23

Total 4,532 - 603

Fort Mill polling places

Baxter 152 - 44

Carolina 49 - 65

Doby’s Bridge 199 - 146

Fort Mill No. 1 157 - 168

Fort Mill No. 2 220 - 155

Fort Mill No. 3 100 - 78

Fort Mill No. 4 86 - 102

Fort Mill No. 5 59 - 87

Fort Mill No. 6 172 - 72

Gold Hill 158 - 88

Kanawha 146 - 54

Nation Ford 126 - 85

Orchard Park 263 - 52

Palmetto 197 - 88

Pleasant Road 109 - 156

Riverview 60 - 61

Shoreline 233 - 143

Springfield 155 - 113

Stateline 73 - 34

Steele Creek 188 - 76

Tega Cay 83 - 99

Waterstone 100 - 46

Windjammer 135 - 138

Absentee 38 - 37

Total 3,258 - 2,187

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