MERRIWETHER, S.C. - Parents, teachers and pupils huddled around a floor plan Saturday morning to see where their high school's new library, computer lab and classrooms will be next year.
Administrators, staff and faculty of Fox Creek High School, a charter school set to open this fall in Edgefield County, held an open house, allowing parents and pupils to meet their future teachers and to get an idea of what their school will look like.
Visitors strolled through the now-barren classrooms and a half-dozen pupils decided to enroll in the school after visiting.
The former 12,000-square-foot, 22-room gambling center a quarter-mile north of Interstate 20 hasn't been transformed into a school just yet, but teachers said they already imagine the perfect learning environment.
"I came in and picked out a classroom and tried to envision where the desks and chalkboard will go," said Nancy Cowart, who will leave Merriwether Middle School to teach English at the new school. "There is a lot of excitement here and we can't wait to get started. This will be special."
Mrs. Cowart is one of eight teachers who will instruct the estimated 120 pupils next year. Parents said small class sizes and a lot of parental involvement, which the school requires, make the school a good fit for their children. Even specialized clubs for activities such as bass fishing and paintball will be offered.
"We're just looking for a smaller learning environment for (my daughter)," said Donna Lewis, who walked through the school with Albany, 14. "We wanted to see what they had to offer and everything we have heard sounds great."
Parents also said they will like the new school because it's in their neighborhood.
Pupils at the southern end of the county in the Merriwether community now attend the county's lone high school - Strom Thurmond - more than an hour away by school bus.
"We want to be closer," said parent Mary Wade, who visited with daughter, Anna, 14.
The charter high school will open in fall 2004. For more information, visit www.foxcreekhs.org or call (803) 613-9435.