Orangeburg County Council has approved the renovation of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control building in Holly Hill to make classroom space for Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

County Council unanimously approved a contract with Irmo-based Pyramid Contracting for nearly $2 million during a meeting last month.

The county received four bid proposals on the project, with Pyramid Contracting providing the lowest bid.

Councilwoman Janie Cooper-Smith praised the project.

“I think this is a great project with Orangeburg being as large as it is,” Cooper-Smith said. “To have this in the Holly Hill area with Holly Hill growing as fast as it is, I think this is really a great project.”

Council Chairman Johnnie Wright echoed Cooper-Smith.

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“We have been waiting on this for quite a few years to try to update that second floor so we can have OCtech out there,” Wright said.

The renovation project’s first phase is expected to be completed by December 2024.

The facility at 8423 Old State Road will serve as satellite facility for OCtech. The building is located in the County of Orangeburg-Town of Holly Hill Administration Complex.

The project includes the addition of an elevator as well as 10 new classrooms to the building’s second floor. The renovations will include new drop ceilings and new floors, according to county building officials. The first floor is occupied by DHEC.

OCtech President Dr. Walt Tobin said the college is in the process of conducting a needs assessment for the area to determine how the space can best be used.

“We know what the economic development prospects look like for this region of South Carolina, with a focus on automotive, advanced manufacturing and battery production,” Tobin said. “We also know that health care is a continuing focus in this area.”

As the college contemplates what academic programs will be offered in the area, it will seek ideas from the community and stakeholders.

Tobin, during the OCtech Area Commission meeting on March 19, said he believes the Holly Hill programs will be a non-credit training programs as opposed to a credit-based programs.

“If we offer credit programs off-site, that triggers a whole bunch of stuff that we have to do in response to SACS,” Tobin said. “The increased demand for advanced manufacturing technicians because of the proximity of the Volvo site, Mercedes-Benz site, I am thinking that it will have an advanced manufacturing or a health care or health service focus.”

Borrowing package

Orangeburg County’s plans to borrow $10 million for several building projects and the purchase of about 40 vehicles for the sheriff’s and county administration departments received final approval.

The county often approves borrowing for larger capital purchases that go beyond the $2 million to $3 million set aside in its capital improvement fund, county officials said.

About five years ago, the county approved borrowing about $13 million to purchase sheriff’s office vehicles. The $13 million was paid off in 2023.

The county and sheriff’s office have a number of vehicles with high mileage and significant wear that need to be replaced, according to county officials.

The funds will also be used for other capital projects, such as upgrades for the CASA domestic violence shelter and a kitchen and dining area at the future location of the Orangeburg County Council on Aging at 908 Willington Drive.


Brenda Jamerson, coordinator of the Coalition of the Homeless, requested council work with the coalition to help address rising homelessness.

Jamerson presented a preliminary report to council on the issue.

“Our community is in desperate need of funds to establish and maintain crucial services in the area of crisis stabilization, emergency shelter, transitional housing and transportation,” Jamerson said. “The reality is stark. Individuals and families in our communities are struggling every day, facing the harsh conditions of life without stable housing.”

“By investing in crisis stabilization, we can create a supportive environment,” Jamerson said.

The county’s budget does not currently have funding for The Samaritan House shelter for operations or stabilization services.

“Instead, it relies solely on the benevolence of the community and grants to sustain assistance,” Jamerson said.

Currently, the shelter can house 55 people – 34 men and 21 women.

The coalition was formed in 2023 to address the issue of homelessness in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counites and includes 30 agencies in the area, Jamerson said.

Samaritan House Executive Director Henry Miller also noted the Middleton Street shelter is in need of funding due to aging plumbing and computers.

The shelter has received an estimate of $15,000 to fix the plumbing.

“We have some old, outdated computers we are using,” Miller said. “Just last month, we had two of our computers to crash and we lost a lot of valuable information that we need to keep up with the homeless and things we are helping them with when it comes to jobs and when it comes to health care.”

“Orangeburg is growing and so is the homeless population,” Miller said. “I would encourage you to come down and visit the shelter.”

In other business at the March 18 meeting:

• Councilwoman Deloris Frazier noted that President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act ensures that people with Medicare pay no more than $35 for a month’s supply of each covered insulin product under Medicare prescription drug coverage, Traditional Medicare, or Medicare Advantage.

• County Administrator Harold Young praised the county’s first responders, volunteer fire departments, Emergency Medical Services and the sheriff’s office for their response to a fatal incident at the Edisto River.

• Council gave unanimous third and final reading approval to rezoning about 12.5 acres of land at 951 Eutaw Road to commercial general to allow the establishment of an event hall/social event space.

The property was zoned forest/agricultural. It is near Eutawville.

• Council gave unanimous final reading approval to the rezoning of the former Boyd Furniture Company at 7630 Old State Road to commercial general from its current forest agricultural designation.

A new business has purchased the building.

• Orangeburg resident William Green expressed his concerns about Greyhound bus riders being dropped off by the Love’s Travel Stop by Interstate 26 rather than coming into Orangeburg.

He said individuals get their tickets on Old Edisto Drive at the Exxon Gas station but have to get on and off the bus at the Love’s Travel Stop.

Green said people have been left at Love’s and do not have a way to get to Orangeburg due to a lack of transportation.

County officials said they will reach out to Greyhound about the matter.

• Council unanimously gave final approval to the lease of about 170 acres of farmland at the John W. Matthews Jr. Industrial Park to Ted Shuler and Sons. The industrial park, which is owned by the county, has some undeveloped land that can be used for agricultural purposes.

The money from the lease – $5,100 for the year – will go toward park maintenance and landscaping.

• Council gave unanimous second reading approval to a lease with Nottoc Farms of Orangeburg.

The county will lease the property to Nottoc, which will continue to farm the property. The lease funding – $5,100 a year – will go toward the county’s upkeep of the property.

In May of 2023, the county purchased two parcels of land totaling about 159 acres from the farm, located off Charleston Highway, for future economic development purposes.

• Staff of the Orangeburg County Clemson University Cooperative Extension office introduced themselves to council and provided a summary of their duties and program areas.

• Council appointed Samantha Gillis as code enforcement officer and as an animal control officer.

• Council entered into closed session to discuss an employment matter regarding legal representation.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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