School's opening is delayed

AIKEN --- Graniteville pupils will have to wait until fall before moving into a new elementary school.


Byrd Elementary School's opening date has been pushed beyond the 2007-08 school year because of scheduling issues, Aiken County Deputy Superintendent David Caver said.

"Substantial completion isn't done until February, and we don't want to move in until our punch list has been taken care of," Mr. Caver said.

The school will move from its 1950s-era building to Bettis Academy Road near the new Sage Valley development.

Construction workers have begun installing classroom walls in the new building. The "punch list" includes smaller items such as correct light fixtures and aesthetic touches.

Though the school could probably open its doors by spring break, teachers and staff would have difficulty moving classroom materials and switching over grading and attendance technology in just a week.

The $16 million facility will not come in over budget, Mr. Caver said.

The district is wrapping up its last two major construction projects in its five-year plan. Construction on the Millbrook Elementary School addition will be completed around February. The addition should open this school year because no technology equipment needs to be transferred, Mr. Caver said.

Undertaking new projects in coming years might not be as financially feasible.

Since 2000, school construction costs have increased 200 percent, according to figures released in December in Aiken County schools' five-year facility update.

"We have some significant renovations coming up at Gloverville Elementary, Ridge Spring, Jackson Middle and North Augusta Middle, but after that we're just waiting to see what we have to work with," Mr. Caver said.

The school district has begun a process to determine future needs with a facilities study, which will evaluate current enrollment and show where new schools might be needed.

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or