Saluda County getting millions to repair, replace schools

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 11:17 AM EDT
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SALUDA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The 2,412-student Saluda County School District is getting $38 million in state funding to renovate and replace its old school buildings.

They’ll be replaced by “safe, modern facilities to accommodate current and future county enrollment trends,” according to a news release from state Superintendent Molly Spearman.

The funding is part of the $100 million appropriated to the South Carolina Department of Education for Fiscal Year 2021-2022.

In April, the department commissioned independent studies of schools in the state’s poorest counties to help determine capital funding.

An independent review found problems with the age and condition of Saluda County’s schools, which are on average 53 years old.

The district has five schools in or near Saluda and the Hollywood community. Saluda Middle School and and Saluda High School, although separate, share a campus and are attached.

The assessment team recommended a new, modern elementary school on the existing Saluda Elementary School campus that would consolidate Saluda Elementary School and Saluda Primary School. Also recommended were additions and renovations to Hollywood Elementary, Saluda Middle School and Saluda High School.

To get this money from the state, districts have put some of their own in, as well.

They also have to get on board with potential consolidations the Department of Education calls for.

Saluda County’s superintendent, Dr. Harvey Livingston, says the infrastructure in his schools is so old and outdated that it’s no longer cost-effective to simply make repairs and smaller renovations.

The $38 million “is going to go a tremendous way to improve our facilities,” Livingston said.

“We’re a poor, rural district, do not have a very strong tax base, so every dime we can get from the state is going to be huge for us,” Livingston said.

The Saluda County school board chairwoman echoed those sentiments.

The investment “will help us provide the resources that our students and teachers have needed for decades,” said Dr. Kathy Coleman.

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