Orangeburg County School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster gives State of the District address

Construction costs for three Orangeburg County School District projects are estimated at $57.8 million, according to plans presented to trustees last week.

The latest estimates for the planned East Elementary School in Holly Hill and additions to William J. Clark Middle School and Lake Marion High School were presented by Allen Taylor and Clint Riddle with LS3P construction design.

The projects are part of the larger, $190 million package of school building projects approved by voters in November.

The estimated construction costs include contingency costs, but not soft costs such as fees, surveys, geotechnical work and inspections.

The original construction estimate for the work, including soft costs, was about $61.7 million. Taylor said soft costs will be determined at a later date.

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“Soft costs are kind of a moving target,” he said.

LS3P is currently in the design development phase of the project. The cost estimates are based on its drawings and plans.

“It is critical that we have some work to be done on all three of these projects. Since we are going on existing campuses, there is some work we need to do before students return in early August … so students can continue to use these campuses for education,” Taylor said.

The plan is for there to be as little disruption as possible for students, he said.

East Elementary

The estimated cost for the construction of a new elementary school in Holly Hill is $40.9 million, with the school costing $33.1 million and site demolition and development at about $6.2 million. About $1.5 million is in place for contingencies.

The cost estimates have remained unchanged from previously reported estimates.

Riddle said updated drawings have been submitted to the contractor and a guaranteed maximum price will be provided in the near future. The guaranteed maximum price will provided a fixed cost for the project, taking into account inflationary costs.

The school is expected to be complete in December 2024, with site completion in July 2025. The school should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2025.

The school will be built on the existing site of the Holly Hill Elementary School at 1490 Brant Ave. The school will remain operational during construction.

Riddle said the bus entrance will be located off of Brant Avenue and the new main administration entrance will be off of Camden Road.

A temporary parking lot will be built and the existing school will be torn down for the placement of a permanent parking lot.

The school will house 750 students with expansion to 900 possible.

The 110,000-square-foot, two-floor school will house special education, grades 1 to 3, administration, dining room, media center, performance and music classrooms on the 83,000-square-foot first floor.

The 23,000-square-foot second floor will house upper grade classrooms and science labs.

The school is to serve students currently attending St. James-Gaillard Elementary, Holly Hill Elementary and Vance-Providence Elementary. Those three schools will close.

William J. Clark

Middle addition

The 500-student, 26,340-square-foot addition to William J. Clark Middle School will provide additional classroom space.

The first floor of the addition will include the main classrooms, science lab, chorus room, piano room and music lab.

The second floor will include core classes for sixth-grade students.

The latest total construction cost is estimated to be about $9.2 million, with $7.9 million for the new addition and $617,097 for site development and demolition. About $650,000 is set aside for contingencies.

The initial project cost was estimated at $11.5 million, with about $9.9 million for the school and $781,000 for on-site development and demolition.

Trustee Mary Ulmer asked if the cost savings are at the price of building quality and Taylor said they have not been.

“We were able to go back and work with administration to find some additional space in the existing building that is not being used,” Taylor said. “A part of getting these projects within budget is to make the best use of space that is already existing there.

“We have actually downsized slightly the size of the addition as well as using some flex space in the existing building to get this one to budget.”

Due to the challenges of traffic flow at the school, the parent drop-off entrance will be placed on Boulevard Street. The visitor parking lot will remain where it currently is on Bennett Street and the bus drop-off will be on Bennett Street.

“We are working through that with the Department of Transportation,” Taylor said, noting the site has been submitted to the agency.

The school plans have been submitted to the state Office of School Facilities for design development review and will move toward construction documents.

The school will become the home of middle-level students throughout the central area of the county, including those within Clark’s attendance zone and students previously zoned for Howard Middle School.

The construction will take place in the summer with a move-in date of December 2024.

Lake Marion Middle

The new, single-floor, 26,630-square-foot wing at Lake Marion High School will house 500 students.

The total construction will be $7.8 million – $6.8 million for the school addition and about $430,000 for site development and demolition. About $550,000 will be set aside for contingency costs.

The previously reported total cost of construction was $9.3 million, with the school being $8.2 million and site development at about $417,000.

The traffic flow at the school will remain relatively the same as at present. The bus drop-off will remain at the north side and the middle school drop-off will be off of Tee Vee Road. There will be a new visitor entrance as part of the middle school addition.

For the interior of the wing, the plans are to relocate current high school classes into the vacant areas and to use other parts of the high school to form the new middle school wing.

The new wing will open in August 2024. The school will serve students from Holly Hill-Roberts Middle and Elloree Middle. Both Holly Hill-Roberts and Elloree Middle will close.

Middle school students will be separated from high school students.

The high school and middle school students will share a cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, media center, band and chorus space, although schedules will be staggered to keep the children separate.

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