Work set to begin on high school expansions

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 5, 2014 

— Work begins this summer to expand Nation Ford and renovate or expand Fort Mill high schools.

Nation Ford will get a new classroom wing, expanded common area, mini gym and improved traffic on school grounds. Work is scheduled to be completed by August 2015.

Fort Mill adds a new administration building and campus entrance, plus renovations to a media center, administrative space and what is now Riverview Elementary once that school moves to Spratt Street at the end of the year.

Work at Fort Mill High should be finished by December 2015.

Expansions of both high schools were a major focus of a $54 million bond package approved by voters last year. District leaders told voters expanding each school by 600 students would put off the need for a third district high school. Each school would have capacity for 2,400 students. The package also paid the cost to transition from grass to synthetic turf athletic fields.

A 2008 bond issue approved by voters is financing the new Doby’s Bridge and Tega Cay elementary schools, which will open in the fall.

The school board voted at its May 29 meeting to approve up to $15.5 million for the low bidder on work at Fort Mill High.

“The bids are still being reviewed accordingly,” said district spokeswoman Kelly McKinney, “so this approval gives the administration the authority to award a contract once a determination of low bidder is made.”

The board also voted May 29 to finalize a a $92 million budget for 2014-15, unchanged from its public presentation a week prior. The budget includes a six-mill tax increase and $1.83 million transfer from contingency funds, largely for the opening of two new elementary schools.

The board also passed a resolution asking that York County Council not allow Piedmont Medical Center a fee-in-lieu-of-tax arrangement should the company build a hospital in Fort Mill. When a judge ruled that Piedmont could put a hospital in Fort Mill earlier this spring, the company promoted the move as a boon for school taxes. The judge since vacated that decision leaving Piedmont and Carolinas Healthcare System still in contention to build in Fort Mill.

The school board wants county leaders to hold Piedmont, should it build, to at least the $2.8 million in annual school taxes it promoted.

“The Fort Mill School District has not received an affirmative response from the Fort Mill Medical Center and has received no assurance that the amount touted by the hospital in all of its printed materials will actually be paid to the Fort Mill School District,” reads the resolution.

Piedmont released a statement ahead of the board’s official vote saying the hospital “remains committed to being a good community partner” but that they’ve put development plans on hold pending a final ruling on whether they’ll be allowed to build.

The school district hasn’t taken a stance on which hospital it prefers.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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