NINETY SIX — Officials discussed what to do with the old high school campus during a school board meeting Tuesday.
Ben Thompson, an architect who specializes in designing educational environments, went through a plan of action that took into account Greenwood County School District 52’s budget.
Thompson’s firm, McMillan, Pazdan and Smith Architecture, audited the district’s facilities, grading the buildings in such categories as safety and security, which were priorities for parents.
“We want to know about enrollment,” Thompson said. “We want to know the trends there, also we want to know how teachers are using the physical space.”
Thompson said the buildings were judged on existing building code, accessibility requirements and if the system is working to its full potential.
Thompson’s plans included demolishing the old high school building and putting a fieldhouse in its place. The new building would be a place for indoor band practice. According to Thompson, it would be the district’s best use of the land and would include male and female locker rooms, storage and to accommodate designated home and visitor parking.
Superintendent Rex Ward added that unlike other buildings in the district, it would be ADA accessible.
Board member Bryan Green said that he was unsure about the plan because it would displace the wrestling team who practices in the old high school. Green also said the district needs to prepare for District 52 to be consolidated into District 50, which would make building a new structure counterintuitive.
Thompson also talked about the moisture in some buildings in the district, which led to a discussion about whether to buy dehumidifiers.
“We have a school that has a humidity problem we need to fix,” Ward said. Board member Jeffrey Chapman was against accepting the lowest bid because it was anonymous.
The measure failed after three board members abstained from voting for the dehumidifiers because they couldn’t be sure there wouldn’t be a conflict of interest of Chapman voted against accepting the bid, suggesting instead that the district write to the state Attorney General’s Office to get his opinion.
First semester at Ninety Six has also been extended to Jan. 15 with students returning to classes on Jan. 19.