Voters passed the Aiken one-cent sales tax a year ago on Wednesday. The revenue from the tax is supposed to help rebuild and renovate existing Aiken County schools.
The schools on the list for upgrades include: Aiken High School, North Augusta High, Ridge Spring Monetta Elementary and High, Leavelle-McCampbell and the Aiken County Career and Technology Center.
Thursday’s meeting focused on Aiken high, North Augusta High and Leavelle-McCampbell schools.
The Superintendent and committee broadcast the meeting live to different locations around Aiken. It’s the first time the public has been able to ask questions and get answers.
“I think the parents and our community at large has realized that we were overdue for some facilities here in Aiken County, and we want to make sure that the education we provide is one that of the highest quality,” Deputy Superintendent, Shawn Foster said.
Deputy Superintendent, Shawn Foster says construction will come in two phases for both Aiken and North Augusta High school.
Renovations will include; a media center, an administration office and more classrooms, just to name a few.
Construction has already started on Aiken High.
“When people actually see progress being made it makes it even more exciting,” Foster said.
50 percent of Aiken County schools were built 40 to 50 years ago, and Leavelle-McCampbell is 96 years old.
“The needs in schools today are not the same as they were there are safety issues there are technology issues that are different than they were 50 years ago,” parent, Diana Floyd said.
Parent Diana Floyd says Aiken has to compete with bordering counties like Lexington and Columbia which both have several brand new facilities.
“It’s a great place to raise families, but our schools, especially the appearance from the outside, really more so than the education that goes on inside the schools, it’s the appearance front the outside that has deterred some families from choosing Aiken County as a place to live,” Floyd explained.
At the meeting they also announced how much each project will cost along with completion dates.
Aiken high School phase-A will cost $35.8 million and is scheduled to start in the Spring 2016 and end in Fall 2017. Phase B is $14.8 million and will last from Fall 2017 to Spring 2019.
North Augusta High School Phase 1 will cost $ 28.9 million and starts March 2016 and ends July 2017. Phase 2 costs $24.9 million, construction will start July 2017 and end November 2018.
Leavelle McCamble is one complete project costing $29.7 million. Construction will begin January 2016 and end June 2017.