School District One preparing for replacement of two schools

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By David Meade
During their meeting Tuesday, the Anderson School District One Board took several preliminary steps toward beginning a new building program.
Over the last two years, architects have been working on the initial plans for planned replacement of two of the District’s oldest school buildings, Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle.
The board gave their approval Tuesday to develop a request for proposals (PFP) for pre-construction phase services, new construction, additions and renovations phase services for the planned building program.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said the approval will allow the architect to begin working with a construction management crew on the middle school projects.
Replacement plans for Palmetto and Wren Middle school buildings were announced in August of 2016.
The Wren Middle School building was constructed in 1951 and Palmetto Middle in 1953. Both schools were new high schools when they were originally built.
Under the proposed plan, construction of two new middle schools will take place at the current school campuses while present facilities continue to be used. Portions of both structures will be retained, including gyms and auditoriums.
Once the new construction is completed, the old parts will be demolished and removed.
The approval for RFPs by the Board Tuesday will also allow work on the Wren Middle parking lot upgrades in preparation for the later planned construction at the school.
Binnicker said there will be stakeholder meetings over the next few months to determine what should be included in the new building program, with a bond referendum possibly in 2019.
The building project is expected to take three years to complete.
The Board also heard a presentation by representatives of M. B. Kahn, the District’s architectural and construction management firm on a recently completed facility study for the District..
The study includes an assessment of needs for each of the District’s fourteen schools and identifies recommended priorities.
The study states that both Palmetto and Wren Middle buildings are antiquated and should be replaced. Both are in need of electrical, mechanical, plumbing and roof replacement or repair.
Structural elements are also failing it states.
(Details from the study for each school in the District will be covered in the next issue of The Journal)
The Board also approved a $3 million transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Improvements account. Binnicker said the funds are not earmarked for any particular project at this time.
The Board heard a report on technology in the classroom, student nutrition services, local option sales tax and minority and emergency vendors during their meeting Tuesday.
Dr. Doug Atkins took the Oath of Office. Atkins was recently placed back on the Board by the County School Board, after resigning near the end of the school year. The Board also elected Brenda Ellison to serve as the Vice Chair.
Among other actions taken were the following:
The Board approved second reading on changes to the cell phone policy, allowing some use of phones on buses.
The nutrition service program served 126,000 more meals than the year before and expenses were down for the program, according to Dr. Kelly Pew, Assistant Superintendent for Administration.
Superintendent Binnicker reported the District spent $419,800 with minority owned vendors.
Approximately $37,000 was spent on emergency purchases and $41,000 on sole service providers, where only one manufacturer or company provides the needed service or item.
Personnel
The Board approved the following personnel recommendations:
Leave – Hollyn Barnett, Grade Three Powdersville Elementary.
Recommendations – Angela Evatt, Grade Four, Wren Elementary; Brandy Hanson, English, Palmetto High.
Transfers – Allyson Forrester, Special Education Homebound, Palmetto High School to special Education Resource, Concrete Primary and West Pelzer Elementary; Brittany Goza, English, Palmetto High to Spanish, Palmetto High.
Retirement – Edna Styles, Special Education, Palmetto middle.
Resignation – Lillian Tolley, Grade Four, Wren Elementary.