llendale Elementary is expanding; officials hold groundbreaking for new wing

ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJFB) — Allendale Elementary School is expanding.

“It’s something to behold when you see your district growing, things getting better, and the economy seemed to be stable moving forward. It all comes from your schools, you know, educational system,” Representative Lonnie Hosey told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk about the expansion.

District leaders and other dignitaries broke ground early Tuesday morning on the new wing that will be added to the school. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to walk down the halls, to see our students learning,” Superintendent Dr. Margaret Gilmore added.

The new addition will start at the current wood line next to the school. Officials say it will take over the road that’s currently there. It’s been something they’ve been planning for — for at least seven years. “Back in 2013, 2014, due to the budget cuts of Allendale County, we decided that we need to minimize the footprint of the school district,” School Board Trustee Terry Hall said.

A team came in and conducted a study. One of the recommendations was to close Fairfax Elementary School and build a new wing. “The savings would benefit in the long run,” Hall added.

Fast forward, school leaders already have a plan in place for what they would like to see in the new space. “A library. It’s going to be our satellite feeding facilities, classroom spaces, and basically to give everybody on the same campus. Then that would make sure that utilities get cut down from running to schools where you can put everybody in one place,” he added.

For the principal of Allendale Elementary School, Sheila Leath, she and her team will have even more time with children in lower grades and she is fine with that. “I can’t tell you what this means for our instructional program in terms of continuity that we can do vertical articulation* now with all the teachers in the building from the three-year-olds through the fifth grade. So we are so looking forward to the younger kids, along with the kids that are presently there in our building,” she said.

State leaders say this expansion could be the start of more things to come to help Allendale move forward. “I can use this and tell them to look how we are growing. Look what we are doing so that when I ask for something, maybe consider giving us something,” Representative Hosey added.

The contractor is waiting on a notice to proceed from the architect.

They will have 300 days to complete the project.

*Vertical articulation facilitates K-12 collaboration within the existing feeder pattern.