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Trolley Run students zoned for new Graniteville Elementary

February 13, 2019 GMT

Elementary students in the Trolley Run Station neighborhood will attend the new Graniteville Elementary School starting in the 2019-20 school year.

Members of the Aiken County School Board approved the attendance zone plan at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Students who live in Trolley Run are zoned for elementary, middle and high schools in Aiken in Area 1 this school year. Those students previously attended schools in Graniteville in Area 3.

In January 2018, the School Board approved moving the students from Area 3 to Area 1 schools to help alleviate overcrowding at Byrd Elementary and Midland Valley High in Graniteville.

However, at its Jan. 22 meeting, the Board reversed that decision by a vote of five to four.

Graniteville Elementary, formerly the Byrd Learning Center, is being refurbished and will open in August. The facility, built in the 1950s, was the original Byrd Elementary.

Dr. Shawn Foster, the chief officer of Operations and Student Services for Aiken County Public Schools, updated the board on construction at Graniteville Elementary and at North Augusta High, Aiken High and Ridge Spring-Monetta High.

Work crews had redone the bathrooms, plumbing and floors and replaced single-pane windows at Graniteville Elementary, Foster said.

“If you’ve had an opportunity to drive down Ascauga Lake Road, you’ll see that the school has changed. That whole building has taken a new appearance, a new character,” he said. “The new windows make the building more efficient and give it a better look. We know that we’ve put in things to ensure that that building is safe and functional.”

As a separate item, the board approved a change order to build a canopy over the school’s handicapped ramp. The canopy was not included in the architect’s original plans.

Foster estimated that students could move into the new classroom wing at North Augusta High in about three weeks after the final inspection of the elevator and the installation of the radio enhancement system that will allow emergency responders to communicate.

“We’re ready to go,” he said. “It’s hard to walk past the building with everything ready to go and wait on a few small things, but we’re working diligently to get them done.”

Foster said the district is moving toward the coordination and planning for furniture delivery for the new fine arts building and the auxiliary gym at Aiken High.

“We’re moving forward with that construction,” he said. “I hope in next three to four weeks to be able to plan a tour for the board.”

Construction is expected to be complete in the spring.

The first floor of the new two-story building at Ridge Spring-Monetta High is done, and the roof will be going on soon to allow construction on the second floor, Foster said. Grading also has begun for the new athletic facilities.

“The weather was been a challenge, but work crews have managed to continue to work and not let that put them behind schedule,” Foster said. “We’re still moving forward.”

Substantial construction should be complete by the end of the year.

During public participation, two parents of students at Hammond Hill Elementary in North Augusta expressed concerns about safety and academic issues at the school.

One parent voiced concern about the safety and security of the school’s kindergarten wing, which is a separate building, in relation to renovation plans at the school.

“You’re asking our smallest, most vulnerable, least mature children to walk the farthest from their new drop-off location, go in the building, up the stairs, all the way through the new building, outside through a corridor and into their location,” she said. “That, to me, does not sound like a great idea.”

The other parent said students and teachers are being stressed by increased mandatory testing, mandatory computer learning and accelerated learning.

“We are creating robots that we test, test, test and put on computer program after computer program,” she said. “At the same time, we’re driving away wonderful teachers who love our children and love to help them learn but are no longer allowed to really do so. Please fight to give our teachers a break to let them teach to teach, not just teach to test.”