on October 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

SDPC officials review summer elementary renovations

If you ask officials with the School District of Pickens County’s building program how they spent their summer, the answer won’t include a vacation to the mountains, beach or long-distance travel to Las Vegas or Washington, D.C.

Instead, their summer was primarily spent performing renovations, new construction or overseeing those areas for 13 elementary schools including Clemson Elementary, Central Elementary and Six Mile Elementary schools. Tim Newman, executive director of operations and technology for the School District of Pickens County, and Jamie Benton, who is also with that office, presented an update regarding the renovations to members of the Pickens County Board of Trustees during its meeting Monday night.

Newman said the first and foremost priority was improving safety for students, faculty, administrators and staff.

“All front offices renovated are safe and secure,” Newman said. “There is no longer open access to the schools.”

Security improvements included reworking the general office, guidance and principal’s office at seven of the elementary schools, including Central. Central Elementary renovations also consisted of replacing door hardware, sealing miscellaneous nonrated conditions in corridors, replacing the fire alarm system, installing a new P.A. with callback capabilities, miscellaneous technology upgrades and securing data rooms.

The school also features two new additions that include two kindergarten classrooms, two general classrooms and a computer classroom. Officials with the school district toured Central Elementary and Holly Springs Elementary Wednesday morning.

“Central Elementary received a computer lab, consisting of a 6,900-square-foot addition as well as a regular classroom addition of 5,400 square feet,” Newman said, adding that electrical systems were upgraded in the classrooms in order to accommodate the new computer technology. “All elementary schools have laptops in every classroom and are wireless.”

Central Elementary principal Elliott Southard, via a live webcast from his school to those in attendance at the school board meeting, said he is pleased with the renovations and new additions.

“Our kids don’t have to go outside to go to the bathroom anymore, our kids don’t have to go outside to go to the gym anymore — they’re totally secure in this school,” Southard said.

Newman added that technology upgrades were part of every upgrade that occurred in the elementary schools.

Six Mile Elementary School renovations included reworking the science lecture lab into a new, tiered computer lab with storage, replacing door hardware, installing a new P.A. system with callback capabilities and miscellaneous technology upgrades. New Terri Flex flooring was also installed in the school gymnasium.

Clemson Elementary renovations consisted of correcting erosion issues at the rear of the school near the steps leading to the outdoor labs and addressing erosion at the storm drainage outfall. The installation of a central system for heating, cooling and ventilation was the only other improvement to occur at the school that opened in 2001.

Benton said workers are in the process of renovating R.C. Edwards Middle School.

“This will be an extensive renovation requiring temporary classrooms,” Benton said.

Newman, who has overseen the provision of laptops for teachers and installation of Promethean boards in every classroom in recent years, called the summer renovation projects “extremely rewarding.”

“I was able to work with a lot of talented people,” Newman said.

Benton said the fact that so many projects took place simultaneously in such a short time span was challenging.

“Although the starts of renovations and new construction were staggered, completion dates weren’t,” Benton said.