LAURINBURG — Three additions to Sycamore Lane Elementary School will not be completed by the July 1 deadline, the Scotland County Board of Education learned this week.
The board held a special session on Monday to discuss planned moves for Sycamore Lane and Laurel Hill elementary schools.
“Laurel Hill should be able to meet that deadline, Sycamore Lane is now giving us a date around late September to early October,” said Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Larry Johnson.
The construction at both schools is part of Phase II of consolidation along with the closure of Covington Street and North Laurinburg Elementary schools and dividing those students up and moving them into Sycamore Lane and Laurel Hill.
The Sycamore Lane project features two additions, 10 classrooms each, added to the wings of the school with a four-classroom addition being added to the middle of the building at a cost of $6.85 million.
Eighteen classrooms and a new gymnasium are being added onto Laurel Hill at a cost of $5.99 million.
Board member Jamie Sutherland asked if contractors could get enough of the Sycamore Lane project completed to allow students to move in on time.
“We’ll have buildings ready in September or October that we’re going to leave empty until the following August, which really bothers me,” Sutherland said. “Could you have one of those wings ready or two of them?”
Johnson said the inspector would have to sign off on occupancy of the wings that were finished.
“We asked that question and there are a lot of ‘ifs’ — if this is done or that if done,” he said.
Superintendent Ron Hargrave said trying to get one or two of the wings ready poses a problem for items like the fire sprinkler system and electrical which is one system that is all tied into the other buildings.
“We don’t know if we’re going to be able to get the contractors to come back in a reasonable amount of time to finish the third building,” Hargrave said. “In theory getting one or two done makes sense but they are having a tough time getting the sub (contractors) now and if we try to get them to do one then come back and do another I would see that as an issue.”
Students from Covington Street will not be consolidated into Sycamore Lane before the beginning of the 2018-19 school year due to the delay in construction.
Consolidation at Laurel Hill Elementary School will continue as planned because construction is farther along. Students from North Laurinburg will be consolidated into Laurel Hill for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.
Johnson said a mid-year move of students is not something the district is considering.
“It would be a very difficult transition to move an elementary school of 200-plus kids in October or in December because those classes would have already been established and there is no way to integrate those students into the classes at Sycamore,” he said. “We feel it’s not fair to the students to have two different teachers within two and a half month period because that could put them behind as far as being prepared or testing requirements.”
Scotland High School Early College, which was slated to move into Covington Street and become part of Richmond Community College’s Laurinburg campus, will remain on St. Andrews campus for another year.
The county commissioners recently allocated $150,000 to St. Andrews so that SEarCH can remain on campus for another year. The school district will pay for half of the lease, $75,000, and will vote on that budget amendment at their regular board meeting next Monday.
The school board did not set a date for the public hearing to close North Laurinburg Elementary School, but that is required before the board can vote on the issue.
The Scotland County Board of Education will hold its regular board meeting on May 14 at 6 p.m. at the A.B. Gibson Center.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]