AIKEN --- Upgrading six of Aiken County's worst school facilities could cost $225 million, according to information presented this week to the school board.
District administrators pegged the price tag at anywhere from $168 million to $225 million to get Aiken High, North Augusta High, Leavelle McCampbell Middle, Jackson Middle, Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle and the career center past their "inadequate" status.
Deputy Superintendent David Caver presented the board with a breakdown of each school's needs, including electrical, plumbing, security and capacity, which were considered inadequate at most of the facilities.
Leavelle McCampbell's gym, for example, doesn't meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, and North Augusta High has about 1,650 students in a school built for 1,200.
Each of the six schools will hold an open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon for the public to see the problems board members saw when they toured each school before winter break.
As the board moves toward a possible bond referendum to fund the multimillion-dollar building projects, members said it's important the public see that their vision isn't about aesthetics.
"I think they would be appalled to go in and look at conditions those students and teachers are working under," Chairwoman Christine Harkins said.
"If they don't want to do it from the standpoint of a modern learning environment, then do it from a safety perspective, if nothing else," she said.
Public input meetings will be held this month in each attendance area. The board will meet Feb. 9 to discuss feedback from Saturday's open houses and each input meeting.
Reach Julia Sellers at (706) 823-3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COST ESTIMATES for Aiken county school upgrades
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Aiken County schools open houses
WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon
WHERE: Aiken High, North Augusta High, Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle, Aiken County Career and Technology Center, Leavelle McCampbell Middle and Jackson Middle
MORE INFO: Information about each school's needs and video and photos from each school will be provided at each site and online at aiken.k12.sc.us
WHAT: Aiken County schools input meetings
WHEN: All meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Area 1: Jan. 14, Aiken High in the C-2 wing
Area 2: Jan. 19, North Augusta High auditorium
Area 3: Jan. 21, Leavelle McCampbell Middle cafeteria
Area 4: Jan. 25, Ridge Spring-Monetta Elem./Middle gym
Area 5: Jan. 28, Jackson Middle cafeteria
Aiken High: Retain the F-wing and the Taylor Building, which houses the school's gym and band facilities, and demolish the rest -- $45 million
North Augusta High: Retain the gym and auditorium. Demolish and renovate facilities -- $45 million
Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle: Move the school to the Ridge Spring-Monetta High site, which is within Aiken County lines, and create K-12 concept -- $35 million
Leavelle McCampbell Middle: Renovations -- $21 million
Aiken County Career Center: New construction and an addition in Area 4 -- $9 million
Jackson Middle: new addition where oldest portion of school is located -- $12 million
Total cost: $168 million
Aiken High -- Retain the F-wing and the Taylor Building, which houses the school's gym and band facilities, and demolish the rest -- $45 million
North Augusta High -- new school site -- $75 million
Ridge Spring- Monetta Elementary/Middle: Move the school to the Ridge Spring-Monetta High site, which is within Aiken County lines, and create a K-12 concept -- $35 million
Leavelle McCampbell Middle: new school site -- $22 million
Aiken County Career Center: Option 1 additions at Area 3 site and new Area 4 building -- $15 million
Jackson Middle: new school site -- $24 million
Total cost: $224 million