The Aiken County Board of Education is taking a two-pronged approach to addressing overcrowding at schools in Area 3, expected future growth in Area 2 and the need for a more well-defined “feeder system” from elementary to high school in Area 1, according to a news release.
The board has a plan to use existing money and will put together another based on the community’s reaction to four recommendations that grew out of meetings with community representatives from all five areas, administration and board members’ suggestions, and a consultant’s report.
A series of meetings are scheduled to begin next week and continue through Dec. 5. After community feedback, the board will take up the recommendations in January.
The first plan calls for relocating adult education from Byrd Learning Center to the recently acquired former Midland Valley Prep site on Jefferson Davis Highway, allowing the learning center’s current site to be reconfigured as an elementary school.
The new school would open in August 2019 and serve at least 400 students
“We’re excited for this new, highly-visible location and strategic position next door to Aiken Technical College for adult education,” Dr. Sean Alford, Aiken County superintendent, said. “We were able to secure the property for much less than projected and we’re looking forward to opening the new location in August 2018.”
Existing boundaries within Area 3 will be modified to accommodate the new elementary school, and all Area 3 elementary schools will be able to house their own pre-kindergarten classes, providing continuity for those students.
The recommendations include making Schofield and Kennedy middle schools feeders of Aiken and South Aiken high schools, respectively. The middle schools would teach seventh- and eighth-graders. In Area 3, boundaries would be adjusted and the new elementary school would feed into Leavelle McCampbell Middle School. Jefferson, Warrenville and Clearwater elementary schools would feed into LBC Middle School.
Midland Valley High School would be expanded, and upgrades are proposed for Belvedere, Hammond Hill and Millbrook elementary schools.