July 13, 2024

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Early College High School support building construction halfway complete

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Construction on Charleston County School District’s Early College High School support building is halfway complete with high hopes of bringing an ideal learning experience to students.

The City of Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review visited the construction site Tuesday morning ahead of a review Wednesday to discuss the exterior design of the building to fit in with the overall design of downtown Charleston.

Located at 66 Columbus St., the new building will have the support functions of a normal high school that this early college high school currently doesn’t have.

That’s because students and classes operate out of Trident Tech’s Palmer Campus across the street.

“Schools are a fundamental civic part of any vibrant community/neighborhood. Having this new option for our communities’ students is a tremendous asset,” City of Charleston’s Director of Planning, Robert Summerfield, said. “Anytime students have a chance to go to school closer to home or get this kind of specialized study opportunity is great as well. “

It will include a gym, multipurpose room, cafeteria, additional academic spaces and administrative offices, which the current school does not have.

“Currently they’re [the students] eating just in the hallway at the Trident Campus,” the district’s Executive Director of Capital Programs, Jasmeen Shaw, said. “We’re going to give them a brand-new facility that’s going to allow them to have dining on the inside as well as dining in the courtyard area.”

After years in the making, Shaw explained why the building is so important since 70% of students who attend are first-generation graduates.

“Providing these facilities to them and putting them at a point where all others high schools have the same type of facilities, I think will give them a sense of ownership and a sense of belonging that they currently don’t have right now,” Shaw said.

The project was originally expected to cost $36 million but now comes with a price tag $42 million. Shaw explained the reason behind the increase in costs came from additional micro piles that were necessary to support the building.

The new 65,000-square-foot support building now stands where the Wilmot Fraser Elementary School once was.

“The site work looks great,” Summerfield said. “It’s fantastic to see this site coming back to life after having been inactive for too long.”

Construction is expected to be completed by December 2024.

The architectural board will discuss the design for the exterior of the building on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

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