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Orangeburg County School District trustees were given the first construction cost estimates for the planned Holly Hill Elementary School and additions to William J. Clark Middle School and Lake Marion High School.

Allen Taylor and Clint Riddle with LS3P construction design presented an overview of the preliminary cost estimates last week. The projects are among the $190 million in school building projects approved by voters in November.

The estimated construction costs for the new Holly Hill elementary school and additions to Lake Marion High School and William J. Clark Middle school are a combined $61.7 million. That includes $7.5 million in soft costs, such as fees, surveys, geotechnical work and inspections.

A cost estimate was not provided for the planned new Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.

LS3P is currently developing construction concepts with contractors as part of the schematic design phase of the project. The cost estimates are based on these drawings and plans.

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Taylor noted a more concrete amounts will be available at the end of design development phase.

Holly Hill Elementary School

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 million. The cost does not include fees related to surveys and geotechnical work.

The school is expected to be completed in December 2024, with site completion in July 2025.

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

The project has been submitted to the state Office of School Facilities.

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

The two-floor, 106,000-square-foot school’s first floor will cover about 83,000 square feet and the second floor will be 23,000 square feet.

Project officials note the bus rider population of the school is about 75 percent. The design ensures there is enough space for buses to drop off and pick up students.

There will also be a parent drop-off area distinct from the school bus drop-off area.

Temporary parking will be needed during the phased project to coincide with construction and demolition.

The first floor will house administrative offices, a media center, physical education and cafeteria. The first floor will also house pre-K through third grade, while the second floor will house fourth- to fifth-graders.

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

Clark Middle School addition

The 500-student, 32,395-square-foot addition to William J. Clark Middle School will consist of a 17,880-square-foot first floor and a 14,515-square-foot second floor.

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

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

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

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

The school would 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 move-in date will be by December 2024.

Lake Marion High School

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

Combined with existing vacant space of about 18,700 square feet in the high school, the total square footage for the new middle school students would be 45,330.

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

The move-in date would be August 2024.

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.

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

It would open in August 2024 to serve students from Holly Hill-Roberts Middle and Elloree Middle. Both Holly Hill-Roberts and Elloree Middle will close.

Trustee Dr. William O’Quinn expressed concerns about sixth-graders mixing in with 12th-graders on the campus both in drop-off areas and in the hallways.

He was told by Taylor that students from those grades will be sharing a media center and cafeteria.

“I am just wondering if we are not making a potential problem by doing this,” O’Quinn said. “I just don’t know that sixth-graders need to be mingling with 12th-graders.”

Orangeburg County School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster said while the students would share the media center and the cafeteria, they will be separated through scheduling.

Foster said the media center is not physically split but would be separated by book selection locations. The campus does have two gyms, which would help separate the grade levels.

Foster said many of the district’s shared campuses already have one media center.

O’Quinn said he would like to see a separate middle school from the Lake Marion campus.

“We are doing this in Orangeburg,” O’Quinn said. “Clark Middle School is going to be the middle school for Orangeburg. We are not building it along with a new high school. We are not compromising.”

Trustee Mary Ulmer echoed O’Quinn’s concerns.

“I hear about situations at North and Bowman Middle-High Schools,” she said. “Middle schools being put on the same campus as the high schoolers, you have problems that exist with those lower age groups. It is something we need to consider seriously.”

Taylor said there are designs to keep the students separate.

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