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Community meeting to be held June 11 about new county-wide high school


The community is invited to an informational meeting about the Barnwell County School District's facility plan.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. at the Barnwell County Career Center. The architect and contractor firms will be present to share plans for a new CTE-focused high school, which is a combination of a high school and career center.
"Once selected, the district board and leadership will work with the chosen firms to develop specific plans and a timeline for a new career center and consolidated high school. The district will seek community input with this plan," said BCSD Superintendent Dr. Crissie Stapleton of the current step of phase two of the facility study.
At a recent work session, the board discussed four options with the firms for a new high school:

  1. A new comprehensive career center and high school on a site to be determined.
  2. A new comprehensive career center and high school on the current site of Barnwell High School (already owned by the district) with the current high school being demolished following new construction.
  3. Renovation of parts of Barnwell High School with the addition of a new career center and additional instructional spaces.
  4. Full renovation of Barnwell High School with a career center addition built onsite.

At the May 29 regular monthly BCSD board meeting, Stapleton said the board had several takeaways from the work session held the week prior.
"There is substantial savings to the district and taxpayers to build on a current high school site versus a new site, thus allowing the board to also expand on plans for the other schools in Williston and Blackville," said Stapleton. "The consensus of the board was elimination of the option to renovate the current Barnwell High School and to partially renovate Barnwell High School."

During the work session, State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver committed another $5 million to assist in building a new school. This is in addition to the district’s current $105 million.
"We were grateful that Senator Hutto and Representative Hosey were able to join us and provide their input and support into the plans moving forward," said Stapleton.
To keep the history of Barnwell, Blackville-Hilda and Williston-Elko high schools once they consolidate into one school in the future, the district has formed historic committees to archive the history, including collecting memorabilia.
"We know in the future we will have one high school. We want to be careful to do it the right way and honor the legacy of each school that is combining," said Stapleton during the May 29 board meeting.
A chairman has been appointed over each committee, including Kelly Shealy for Barnwell High School, retired Blackville-Hilda superintendent and current BCSD board member Dr. Andy Sandifer for Blackville-Hilda High School, BCSD board member and Williston resident Ronnie Brown for Williston-Elko High School, and Barnwell District 45 Director of Operations and former Blackville-Hilda educator/coach Mike Beasley for the new Barnwell County High School.
Consolidation of the county's school districts officially takes place on July 1.