Orangeburg County School District’s $190 million plan for improving facilities would centralize learning in the eastern part of the county in Santee.

OCSD is considering expanding the Lake Marion High School campus to handle kindergarten through 12th grade.

The plan is part of a larger effort by the district to improve schools and adjust to the county’s declining population by consolidating schools.

OCSD officials say the plan will save money in the long run, since Orangeburg County’s public schools need an estimated $429 million in repairs districtwide if it does not follow the plan.

Orangeburg County’s voters will be asked in November to approve the district’s $190 million borrowing plan. The district believes it can handle the debt without raising taxes above the current level.

Under the district’s plan, students currently served at underutilized campuses including Elloree Elementary, St. James-Gaillard Elementary, Holly Hill Elementary and Vance-Providence Elementary would continue learning in their current locations until August 2024, when a new elementary campus would open at Lake Marion. The four schools would then be closed.

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The new school would be about 175,000 square feet and located on the front portion of the Lake Marion High School campus. The new elementary school is estimated to cost between $40 million and $45 million.

Plans call for the school to have its own media center and gym.

The school would serve about 1,200 to 1,300 students and reduce the amount of space that would have to be heated and cooled by about 180,000 square feet.

The new school would have about 80% occupancy within its classrooms upon its opening.

The district estimates it would cost about $40 million to bring the four elementary schools to a minimum standard if they’re not closed.

Here is a closer look at the existing schools’ needs, according to a study by architectural and planning firm LS3P Associates Ltd.:

Elloree Elementary School

The 173,964-square-foot school at 200 Warrior Drive in Elloree was built in 1987 and was renovated in 2001 and 2004.

About 420 students attended the school at the time of the study, for a utilization rate of 26%.

Overall, the school is in good condition, but needs some updating and minor repairs. The estimated cost of repairs is about $7 million.

The annual heating and cooling costs of the school are $130,811.

Exterior observations

• This school was originally built in 1957 as a high school. The gym remains from the original construction. The school was later converted into an elementary school in 1987, with middle school students added later, with some renovations.

• The downspouts and gutters could use some minor repairs.

• The exterior building appears to be in good condition.

• The windows need some repairs.

• The exterior doors need hardware repairs.

• The manufactured walkway covers need some minor repairs.

• Playground equipment appeared to be dated, but in all right condition.

• The baseball field is in bad shape. The football field and stadium bleachers need to be updated and/or repaired. The track is in really bad shape as well.

Interior observations

• No fire sprinkler system.

• Smoke detectors throughout the school.

• The interior walls are in good condition.

• The administration area’s flooring is in good condition. It appears that these areas have been updated, possibly during a renovation.

• Most of the doors throughout the school are in good condition and only need some touch-up paint on the frames and minor door hardware fixes.

• Flooring in corridors and hallways is in good condition. Lockers are in good shape too.

• Bathroom toilet fixtures are in good condition, but the sinks and countertops need some updating. The toilet partitions are in pretty good shape.

• Overall, classrooms were in good condition.

• The media center has some old and dated ceiling tiles from the 80s. Study recommends replacing these.

• Cafeteria flooring and ceiling are in good condition.

• Kitchen flooring is good. The equipment seems to be in good condition as well.

• Gym flooring needs repairs. The goals and equipment appear to be in good condition, but the wooden bleachers are old and outdated.

• The stage in the school’s auditorium is in good condition. The seats are old and dated, but are in all right condition. The flooring in the seating area is carpet and appears to be relatively new.

St. James-Gaillard
Elementary School

The 44,607-square-foot school at 1555 Gardensgate Road in Eutawville was built in 1954. The school’s roof was renovated in 1996.

The school had about 249 students as of the time of the study. This student enrollment is about 34% of the school’s capacity. The cost to bring the school up to a minimum standard would be $5.5 million.

It takes the district $39,889 to heat and cool the school a year.

Overall, the building still looks very outdated. The areas of the school that were a part of the 1996 renovation appeared to be in good condition with only minor repairs needed. However, there are still areas of the school that need repairs and have issues that need to be addressed.

Exterior observations

• There were some signs of roof leaks throughout the school. The downspouts and gutters need repairs.

• The exterior building’s face appears to be in good condition.

• Most windows are in good condition, but there are areas that have issues. The windows appear to have been a part of the 1996 renovation (i.e., they replaced the original single-pane windows from the 1950s).

• The exterior doors need hardware repairs. On the older sections, they need lots of repairs and the study recommends replacing them.

• Playground equipment is old but in OK condition.

Interior observations

• No fire sprinkler system.

• Smoke detectors throughout the school.

• The interior walls are in good condition in the newer buildings.

• The administration area’s flooring is in good condition because this area was a part of the renovation in 1996.

• Most of the doors throughout the school are in good condition and only need some minor touch-up paint on the frames. These appeared to be a part of the upgrades during the renovation.

• Corridor and hallway flooring are in good condition.

• Bathroom ceiling tiles and flooring need to be repaired at some locations. The sinks and toilet fixtures are in good condition. There are a couple of restrooms that are very small and do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

• Overall, most of the classrooms are in good condition, but have large HVAC units (most have issues and problems) on exterior perimeter walls.

Holly Hill Elementary

The 93,774-square-foot school, located at 1490 Brant Avenue in Holly Hill, was built in 1954 with a renovation in 1996.

The school had an enrollment of 368, or about 34% of its capacity. The district spends about $78,126 to heat and cool the school annually. The cost to bring the school up to a minimum standard would be $11 million.

The school is dated and needs some repairs, but is in overall good condition.

Exterior observations

• There are visible signs of roof leaks (and/or possibly mechanical units above ceiling) throughout the school. The downspouts and gutters need some repairs.

• The exterior building appears to be in good condition.

• Windows appeared to be in good condition.

• The exterior doors are in good shape with only minor hardware issues and some touch-up paint needed.

• The manufactured walkway covers and canopies at the bus loop and stadium need some minor repairs.

• Playground equipment is old and outdated. The study recommends replacing it.

• There is a football stadium. The press box and bleachers are very old and dated and the study recommends tearing down and removing these items in their entirety.

Interior observations

• No fire sprinkler system.

• Smoke detectors throughout the school.

• The administration area’s flooring is in good condition.

• Most of the doors throughout the school are in good condition with only minor touch-up paint needed on frames.

• Recommend replacing the carpet in hallways with new vinyl.

• Ceilings in bathrooms need to be replaced and/or repaired in some locations. The floors are in good shape. The sinks and toilet fixtures are in good condition. The toilet partitions appear to be in good shape. However, the stalls and sinks don’t meet current ADA standards.

• Classroom floors and ceilings are in relatively good shape.

• The wooden bleachers in the gym are old and the study recommends replacing them. The locker rooms are dated. The floors in the locker rooms need repairs.

Vance-Providence
Elementary School

The 45,385-square-foot building is the district’s oldest, having been built in 1930. The school was renovated in 1994.

It costs the district about $45,763 to heat and cool the school a year.

Located at 633 Camden Road in Vance, about 215 students were in the school at a 31% utilization rate.

The district says bringing the school up to a minimum standard would cost $11.3 million.

Overall, the new portion of the school is in all right condition, with repairs needed. However, the older section of the school has lots of issues that need to be addressed.

A portion of this school is in very bad condition, and has been closed off from the rest of the main school building. This area of the school is a two-story building, with a crawl space underneath that has a wooden structure.

This wooden structure has a lot of termite damage, so there are structural issues that need to be investigated. There were visible signs of rotted wood and mold throughout this building. This portion of the building’s HVAC system has been turned off.

Because the HVAC system is not being utilized, along with the exposed areas of flooring that have termite damage with holes in the ceilings and floors, there are a lot of mold issues.

The study recommends demolishing this old, two-story building, and removing it from the premises.

Exterior observations

of the single-story portion

• The downspouts and gutters need repairs between the older classroom wings of the building.

• The exterior building appears to be in OK condition.

• The windows appear to have been installed as part of the renovation of the facility in 1994.

• The exterior doors need door hardware repairs. On the older sections, they need lots of repairs and the study recommends replacing them.

• The canopies on the building are old and dated. The study recommends removing and replacing these.

• Playground equipment appears dated, but in OK condition.

Interior observations

• No fire sprinkler system.

• Smoke detectors throughout the school.

• The interior walls are in good condition.

• The administration area’s floors are in good condition because this area was a part of the renovation to the school.

• Most of the doors throughout the school are in good condition and only need some minor touch-up paint on the frames. This is probably because they were replaced during the renovation.

• Corridor and hallway flooring and ceilings are in good condition.

• The media center has old and dated-looking ceiling tiles, but they are in OK condition. The carpet flooring appears to be in good condition.

• Bathroom ceiling tiles and flooring need to be repaired at locations. The sinks and toilet fixtures are in good condition. The restrooms are very small and do not meet ADA standards. These are in the older section of the building.

Middle school wing
at Lake Marion High

OCSD is also proposing adding a middle school wing at Lake Marion’s campus. This 20-classroom addition could hold around 400 to 500 students.

It would open in August 2024 to students from Holly Hill-Roberts Middle, which is in need of more than $19 million in repairs, and middle school students from Elloree.

The new wing would be at about 65% occupancy.

The middle school would share the gym and media center with the existing Lake Marion High School. The wing is estimated to cost about $10 million.

Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School

The 93,774-square-foot school, located on 530 Hesseman Street in Holly Hill, was originally built in 1954.

It had several renovations over the years. The first, in 1984, added a band room. An ROTC room was added in 1997. A plaque in the school states that the school was renovated in 1991 and 1992.

The school had 458 students at the time of the study, for a 31% utilization rate. It costs the district about $99,394 to heat and cool the school each year.

Overall, the older sections of the school need lots of repairs, and the newer sections are just dated looking and only need minor repairs.

This school has classrooms which can only be accessed from outside the main building (e.g., they don’t have interior corridors). This raises security issues.

Exterior observations

• There are visible signs of roof leaks (and/or possibly mechanical units above ceiling) throughout this school. The downspouts and gutters need some repairs.

• The exterior building appears to be in good condition.

• The older sections of the school’s windows need to be replaced, while the newer sections of the school windows are in good condition.

• The exterior doors at the older sections are recommended for replacement. The newer sections are in good shape with only minor hardware issues and some touch-up paint needed.

• The manufactured walkway covers and canopies throughout the school are in major need of repairs.

• There is a baseball field with dugouts, but no infield with bases or equipment.

Interior observations

• No fire sprinkler system, but corridors appear to be rated and have 20 minute rated doors.

• Smoke detectors throughout the school.

• The administration area’s carpet and flooring are in good condition.

• Most of the doors in the newer section of the school are in good condition with only minor touch-up paint needed on frames. However, at the older sections of the school, the study recommends replacing doors.

• Corridor and hallway floors are in good shape.

• Bathroom ceiling tiles need to be replaced and/or repaired in some locations. The floors are in good shape. The toilet fixtures are in good condition, but some sinks and countertops and fixtures need to be replaced. The toilet partitions are in good shape.

• Flooring and carpeting in classrooms are in relatively good shape.

• The gym appears to be very dated. The gym flooring is in good condition. The wooden bleachers are dated but in fair condition. The locker rooms are dated. The floors in the locker rooms need repairs.

• Cafeteria flooring is dated looking.

• Kitchen is in need of lots of updates and repairs.

• The janitor’s toilet is very small and doesn’t meet ADA standards. The fixtures are old and the flooring is in bad shape. Metal lockers are bad condition as well.

• The older section of the building used to have vocational classrooms, but these spaces are no longer being used, and are now storage rooms with lots of trash and debris.

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