Dig it: One new building means major upgrade for two Cayce schools

Lexington Two school board members mark the beginning of construction in Cayce. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Lexington Two school board members and principals mark the start of construction in Cayce. (Photos by Rachel Ham)

 

 

 

 

It’s rare that two principals get to break ground on the same new school at the same time, but Mary Lance Garrison and Vicki Traufler did just that Monday evening in Cayce with shovels in their hands and smiles on their faces.

Monday’s ceremonial groundbreaking was a milestone for Lexington School District Two.

In 2014, district voters approved a $225 million bond referendum to pay for several new facilities and renovations across the school district. After land was purchased and faculty and staff were consulted on the design, a construction firm selected and now the first facility to be funded by the referendum is under construction.

When the doors open for the first time in the fall of 2017, the new school will be a combined campus, housing students from Taylor Elementary School and the Davis Early Childhood Center for Technology (ECCT). The project means replacing two aging schools with one state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the Busbee Creative Arts Academy on Bulldog Boulevard.

“We are very excited for our students and families,” said Traufler, principal of Davis ECCT.

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Davis ECCT – grades K-2

Taylor Elementary – grades 3-5

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“We’re stepping forward,” added Garrison, Taylor Elementary’s principal.

The school is projected to house 1,200 students, with grades 3 through 5 on the second floor and students in kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 on the lower level.

Garrison said the faculty and staff at both Taylor Elementary and Davis ECCT had significant input into the design of the new building. “All the questions we asked, it was all about the kids,” she said.

Davis ECCT already is using portable classrooms because the school ran out of room when additional classes were added.

Garrison said Taylor Elementary likely would have had to start using portable classrooms in a year or two, but now that will be avoided thanks to the new building.

With the new school, Davis ECCT will be able to expand its full-day, 4-year-old kindergarten program and give more students a strong educational foundation, Traufler added.

The school will serve two Cayce communities under one roof. (photo by Rachel Ham)

The new school will serve two Cayce communities under one roof.

A career and technical studies center for students at Brookland-Cayce High School and Airport High School also will be built at the Busbee Creative Arts Academy site.

All of this is possible because the community supported Lexington Two by approving the bond referendum, District Superintendent Bill James said.

School board members still are finalizing details for a second new school to be built, this one in West Columbia. The district originally had planned to combine three schools – Pineview Elementary, Saluda River Academy for the Arts (SRAA) and B-C Grammar – but concerns about the number of children and additional traffic on Sunset Boulevard scrapped those plans.

Architects now are drawing up plans for a smaller West Columbia school to house students in grades 3 through 5. There also will be facility upgrades at SRAA and at Pineview, which then will house only students in kindergarten through second grade.

Funds from the bond referendum also are being used to pay for new technology districtwide.

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