Clover schools plan bond referendum survey

From staff reportsOctober 11, 2013 

— Leaders in the Clover school district are asking the Clover and Lake Wylie communities to provide feedback on critical facilities issues through an online survey to be launched this week.

The survey — designed and conducted by independent technology and communication firm K12 Insight — will help district leaders determine support for components of the planned construction program.

It’s also expected to help leaders determine better strategies for informing the community about district issues.

A 2006 bond helped fund the construction of Larne Elementary School and Oakridge Middle School, and school board members and administrators say now is the time to address aging and crowded schools.

District leaders are asking to borrow about $65 million through a proposed bond referendum to replace, renovate and build new facilities to better serve its nearly 6,900 students and the community. The school board has discussed paying $20 million to $25 million up front toward the construction costs, for about $85 million in construction.

“It’s our responsibility to provide all our students with a world-class education,” said Clover schools Superintendent Dr. Marc Sosne. “This bond would allow us to ease the burden of overcrowding and provide our students and the community with access to state-of-the-art education facilities.”

Preliminary plans for the proposed referendum include:

• A new middle school, at $40 million, to replace Clover Middle. School officials have discussed building the school on a 125-acre parcel the district owns on Barrett Road north of Clover.

However, Sosne has said there’s an option to make that school closer to Lake Wylie by building it on about 40 acres the district owns behind the administration office in Clover. The property backs up to Clover’s New Centre Park.

• A new elementary school, at $30 million, in the Lake Wylie area, to reduce enrollment at Crowders Creek Elementary. The school is proposed on about 35 acres across from existing Oakridge Middle. Plans call for it to include a track, which is not available at Oakridge Middle because there wasn’t enough land.

Sosne has said the new elementary school would free up space at Crowders Creek for office space. That space would be used by both the special education program and school social workers and psychologists, now at the Clover Resource Center. He said enrollment at Crowders, now at more than 1,000, would go down to around 700 after the new school opens.

• A $10 million renovation of existing Clover Middle School to become a ninth-grade academy for Clover High School. This would expand the high school capacity to about 3,400 students, and allow Clover to maintain its position as a community unified by a single high school.

• A facelift of 8,000-seat Memorial Stadium, including restroom renovations and artificial turf for the athletic field. This project, budgeted at about $5 million, would include artificial turf for two other athletic fields, at Clover High and existing Clover Middle School.

Teachers and staff will receive an email invitation to participate in the survey, as will parents and community members who have provided the district with their email addresses. The survey will also be accessible via the district’s website at www.clover.k12.sc.us.

District officials said they want candid feedback and widespread participation, so all responses will be anonymous and confidential.

The survey will continue through Friday, Nov. 1. After it is finished, the district said it plans to share the results and explain how it will use the data to inform the next steps in the bond referendum process.

“We’ve worked hard to develop a proposal that addresses our immediate and long-term needs,” Sosne said. “And this important survey allows us to hear from all our stakeholders so we can plan our next steps going forward.”

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