Greenville County schools construction plans ensure facilities keep pace with growth
As the population of Greenville County continues to grow, the Greenville County School District plans to keep pace.
The district’s long-term facilities plan addresses the needs of the district within five to seven years of the repayment of the Building Equity Sooner for Tomorrow (BEST) project bonds. The last payment is scheduled for December 2028.
While Greenville County’s population growth has been driven by those 55 and older, the school district has still added about 1,000 students each year to its rosters. In turn, the district has kept an eye on growth through its planning and demographics department.
When to build
The school district monitors the condition and suitability of older buildings through its district-wide building survey, which includes 16 older schools, with the top five to be replaced being:
- Northwest Middle School (built 1973) – to be replaced at new site.
- Donaldson Career Center (built 1971; remodeled 2005) – to be replaced at new site.
- West Greenville School (built 1964) – to be replaced at the former Donaldson Career Center site.
- Bryson Middle School (built 1954) – to be replaced on a new site.
- Alexander Elementary School (built in 1965) – would become an addition to Monaview Elementary School.
Bryson Middle School, which was built in 1954, is nearing the end of its life, Royster said. However, age is not the only factor in choosing which schools to replace. Through research and evaluation, the district will determine the future of a building. This means Northwest, which is almost 20 years newer than Bryson, will be replaced first.
Each building in the district was given a rating from 1 to 10 considering factors such as infrastructure design/condition, building/code, and health/wellness. Northwest received the lowest score of 4.67, with a score of 3 for fire code compliance. Donaldson Career Center and West Greenville School were the other two schools in the district with scores below 5.
Greg Stanfield, executive director of planning and demographics, said the district has about 10 schools that are part of a $130 million renovations and additions plan announced in 2017 that will be completed over the next period 2024-32. They are:
- Ellen Woodside Elementary School, Pelzer.
- Fork Shoals Primary School, Pelzer.
- Simpsonville Elementary School, Simpsonville.
- Mountain View Elementary School, Taylors.
- Sue Cleveland Elementary School, Piedmont.
- Woodland Primary School, Greer.
- Grove Primary School, Piedmont.
- Tanglewood Middle School, Greenville.
- Ralph Chandler College, Simpsonville.
- Fountain Inn High School, Fountain Inn.
Additionally, Stanfield said the district still plans to have a new $40 million elementary school on the site of the former JL Mann High School completed in 2024.
“We believe we have met the growth needs,” he said.
Demography and planning
Stanfield said each school has a base capacity — the largest number of students the school can possibly accommodate — and his department closely monitors that. When a school’s base capacity approaches or exceeds that number, Stanfield and his team look at options. He said the team is monitoring birth trends, housing data and building permits to get an idea of how much space they will need.
Royster said the majority of buildings in the district have been constructed since 2001 and the school has the flexibility to install portable facilities in case it needs temporary space gain. He said the district has about 150 laptops ranging in size from 750 to 1,000 square feet.
He also said the greatest growth has been centered around growing municipalities including Greer, Mauldin and Fountain Inn, as well as in the far north and south of the county.