As more millennials and adults with children move to Greenville – and more families with children already here choose to stay – adding classroom space will become an urgent need, especially around Greenville’s urban core, the board of trustees were told Tuesday.
While the past saw explosive population growth in the county’s southern third, new growth is spread countywide, said Betty Farley, Greenville County Schools’ director of planning and demographics.
The school district’s proposed new long-range facilities and capital projects plan, revealed for the first time at the school board’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, calls for three school additions to be completed by 2020.
Two – a 400-student addition to J.L. Mann High Academy and a 100-student addition to Sara Collins Elementary – are in Greenville. The third project calls for an addition to Rudolph Gordon Elementary and conversion to a K-8 school.
Several other schools near the city will be expanded in 2021 and beyond, according to the plan.
The plan as presented would not require a tax increase for 2016, but would necessitate a 4.5 mill increase in 2017.
But Trustee Chuck Saylors said he thinks additions to the Roper Mountain Science Center and Fine Arts Center should come sooner, even if it means a bigger tax increase.
The Roper Mountain Science Center “has the capacity of serving 70,000 students a year,” he said. “In the words of Voltaire, the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few.”
Saylors asked Superintendent Burke Royster to evaluate for the board how moving those projects up would affect the need for more millage – and said he doesn’t want other projects moved back in order to make the change.
“I know it would require an additional tax increase over the 4.5 mills in this document,” he said. “It’s only fair to the board that we know that number.”
For a look at Greenville County Schools’ proposed long-range facilities plan and capital improvement program for 2017-21, go to bit.ly/GCS-plan.
School construction needs
J.L. Mann 400-seat addition
Sara Collins Elem. 100-seat addition
Rudolph Gordon addition and conversion to K-8 school
Roper Mountain Science Center Harrison Hall renovation
Greer High multipurpose activity room
By 2021 and beyond
Ellen Woodside Elementary
Fork Shoals Elementary
Mountain View Elementary
Ralph Chandler MS addition
Robert E. Cashion addition
Simpsonville @Morton addition
Summit Drive Elementary addition
Fine Arts Center
Roper Mountain Science Center environmental science building
Fountain Inn High School – opening 2021
North area middle school
Elementary school at old J.L. Mann site
Source: Greenville County Schools