on August 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

PC School Board announces purchase of new Daniel, Pickens, Easley high sites

EASLEY — Pickens County School Board members have taken the next step in the district’s $315 million school facilities improvement plan by reaching agreements to purchase property for construction of the new Daniel, Easley and Pickens high schools.

While the sites have been finalized, the specific location of the new schools will not be announced until the final closing has taken place. School district officials said some property owners made that request.

Superintendent Lee D’Andrea, who unveiled her facilities improvement plan at a news conference in November of last year, said that, following an exhaustive search, the district feels it has purchased “three viable pieces of property.” While acknowledging that communities are anxious to learn of the specific location for the new schools, the superintendent added there are several formalities that must first take place.

“We must work through the legal process with the property owners, verify the test results and have a formal closing first,” D’Andrea said.

Under the purchase and sale agreement, district officials said that property owners signed contracts that featured contingencies — including permission for the district to perform due diligence studies to ensure that each piece of property was viable as a school site. The studies also include a boundary survey, topographical survey, a geo-technical investigation with borings and wetlands delineation.

In addition, the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of School Facilities and South Carolina Department of Transportation are included in the approval process. Once tests on the property result in viable school sites, the district will be allowed to close the purchase.

But D’Andrea pointed out that in the event test results show conditions that would prohibit construction, the district would not be required to continue the process.

“With the agreement, we don’t be tied into the purchase of property we cannot use,” D’Andrea said.

While the district awaits the finalization of those sites, officials have already announced that the new Liberty High School will be located on Ruhamah Road. The district already owns that property.

While the district is formalizing site locations for the new schools, D’Andrea added that schematic designs continue to progress smoothly. D’Andrea said the designs are being developed at regular meetings between the architects, the central planning team and the school planning teams. Community members will have the opportunity to see the designs at follow-up community visioning meetings that begin Aug. 9 in the Liberty High School cafeteria; continuing Aug. 23 in the Daniel High School auditorium; Aug. 28 in the auditorium of Easley High School and Aug. 30 in the auditorium of Pickens High School.

A separate meeting will also take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in the Curtis A. Sidden Administration Building for individuals desiring to offer technical assistance.