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Hwy 301 site, best choice for new school Print E-mail

Bamberg School District One Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting said the purpose for Thursday night’s meeting was to get the community’s input and to let them voice their opinion on the two proposed sites on which the new K-6 school may be built.

"This is an informal meeting and the school board members want your opinion and your input on which site would be the better choice for the new school. We have two proposed sites at this time that are being considered. We can build on the existing school property which is approximately 9 acres or we can purchase 50 plus acres on Highway 301, the property on which the hospital was going to be built,” said Schwarting.

The March 16, 2010 referendum to build a new K-6 school and make renovations to the two other existing schools with $20 million stimulus money and $9 million Build America Bonds passed and now the process of choosing contractors and a site is at hand.

Schwarting then introduced Dale L. Collier, President of Brownstone Construction Group, the company that was selected to oversee the construction of the new school.

Collier said the design that has been chosen for the new school, the ‘X’ design, similar to a school already built in Greenwood, S.C., will not fit behind either of the existing schools, but on the other hand, the Hwy 301 site would be adequate for the construction of the new school with minimum site preparation. He made a presentation of all the pros and cons for both sites.

According to Collier: Negatives to build on existing site

The estimated cost of preparing the existing site: destruction of old building, removal of hazardous materials, cost of portables to accommodate school staff and students, off- site road improvement to meet SCDOT requirements, off-site water and sewer improvements and potential upgrade to water system to accommodate a sprinkler system, retention pond, buying additional property, relocation of SCE&G power lines and the complexity of ongoing construction on an occupied site was approximately $2 million.

Positives to build on existing site

The positive things in reference to building on the existing site: a new school on existing site and location per wording of bond referendum.

Negatives to build on Hwy 301 site

The cost to purchase the land is $310,000 and the new school would not be located on existing school site.

Positives to build on Hwy 301 site

There would be no clearing and excavation of the school, minimum of import of fill material, minimal off-site improvements, off-site water and sewer infrastructure in place, more than adequate acreage for SCDHEC required retention pond, additional acreage available to expand, access to site from former school via Binnicker Bridge Rd., high profile visibility for the community, costs to be avoided no relocation of SCE&G power lines, no demolition, no hazardous material removal, and no portables.

Superintendent Schwarting said the school board needs the community's blessing before making a decision on where to build the new school.

Trent Kinard , a Bamberg resident, made the remark that when you look at what it would cost for the site preparation and the cost of the portables on the existing school property versus the cost to buy the property on Hwy 301, that difference alone should be reason enough to build on Hwy 301.

Schwarting said hopefully the school board can meet next week to make that decision and we can move forward in building our new school.

Everyone in attendance at Thursday night's meeting agreed that the Highway 301 site was the best possible site for the new school.

Collier said once a site has been chosen, construction could begin as early as Spring of 2011 with a projected completion date in the Fall of 2012.

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