Frequently Asked Questions

Spartanburg School District Seven passed a bond referendum on March 15, 2016.
The following FAQs regarding the District’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan was provided for information purposes.
The priority needs identified in the Capital Improvement Plan are related to significant deficiencies at four of our schools. Despite careful and ongoing attention to the maintenance and preservation of all of our facilities, there comes a point in time when it’s no longer cost effective to recommend continued renovations or improvements to building infrastructure that is beyond its useful life.
In our description of the proposed new elementary and new high school we have spoken a great deal about creating learning spaces for 21st century education. Should approved funding enable the District to move forward with the recommended capital improvements, we would hope the members of our community would support construction designed for generations of students to come. If we are going to build new facilities, we want to build them for 21st century teaching and learning. It is precisely because of the vision of the community in the 1950s that our facilities have served us so well. To maintain the investment value in our infrastructure, to be prudent stewards of the community’s resources, and to enhance the safety, security and sustainability of our school system, appropriate modern facilities that are supportive of today’s technology are an essential component of meeting community expectations for students.
The projects in the approved capital plan include:
• A new elementary school, with an 800-student capacity to replace Houston and Chapman Elementary Schools. ($36 million)
• A new Spartanburg High School designed for 2,100 students. ($128 million)
• Renovating the existing Spartanburg High School to create a new McCracken Middle School. ($11.6 million)
• Renovating, improving and equipping other school facilities within the School District.
Just as we did for the proposed site for the new high school, we looked at a number of potential sites for the construction of a new elementary school. After conversations with the leadership at Pacolet-Milliken, which is now leasing new luxury loft apartments in the Drayton area, we learned that the developers of that project were enthusiastic to explore the prospect of including the new elementary school in their master plan of a neighborhood development project. As such, the site of the new elementary school will be located within the Drayton community. We believe this arrangement is a win-win for District 7, for Pacolet Milliken and for the Spartanburg community. We are also optimistic that we will be able to obtain this site at little or no cost to the district.
The current combined enrollment of Chapman and Houston is approximately 700 students. The new elementary school will be designed for a maximum capacity of 800 students.
The School Board has not made a final decision about either building or properties, although there has been preliminary discussion about demolishing both sites.
As of yet, there is no name for the new elementary school, which is expected to be completed in fall of 2018.
District officials looked carefully at several potential locations and ultimately decided that the former Lan Yair property off East Main Street was best suited for the generations of students to come. The analysis on this 182 acre parcel presented a myriad of positives that could not be said for the other sites, including existing road and utility infrastructure, sufficient acreage for a comprehensive high school program, access to site utilities, use of natural features for environmental and community related programs and increased visibility for the District’s flagship high school.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation, along with the Department of Education’s Office of School Facilities, makes the final approval of the proposed traffic plan for a new school site. Without the full endorsement of both organizations, plans to move forward would not be feasible. These approvals are made with a focus on the safety of our students, staff, parents and community.
The questions regarding the railroad track near the new high school site property have been about the proximity to the school, materials carried by railroad cars and the railroad intersection on Plainview Drive. A great deal of confidence about the safety of everyone, especially our children, should be gleaned from the fact that the site must be approved by both the SC Office of School Facilities and the SC Department of Transportation. These agencies are fully aware of the location of the railroad track and its proximity to all the schools along its path in District Seven. For example, Houston Elementary has operated within 630 feet of the track for more than 60 years, and the Spartanburg Day School has operated within 1,145 feet of the track for more than 59 years. The new high school facility will be located approximately 1,350 feet from the track – much farther than the two existing schools.
Related to the proximity of the track is the use of the train’s horn as it approaches the intersection with Plainview Drive. While the horn has not been an issue at the existing schools, the District has determined that a “quiet zone” can be established for the intersection, which results in the elimination of the horn from the train. Additionally, establishing a “quiet zone” will result in a much safer intersection for motorists, as new crossing guard equipment would be installed preventing a motorist from driving around the crossing arms. It should be noted that no bus routes, existing or planned, will need to utilize that intersection. Further, student traffic will be routed away from the intersection.
We think our community neighbors will be excited about the various opportunities linked to this Capital Improvement Plan, and many already are. Currently, on any given day, a visitor to the athletic fields at Spartanburg High School will find student athletes from local colleges using our fields for training purposes, neighbors in the area using our tennis courts in the morning and evening and walkers and runners taking advantage of our open track amenities. Offerings such as these will expand as our Capital Improvement Plan takes shape and will allow the citizens of District 7 a wider range of opportunities to take part in the life of our school district. Be it a new performance auditorium or the playground at a new elementary school, members of our community will be welcome to take advantage of these resources.
The plan for the fine arts space calls for a 1,000-seat performance auditorium. Back in the late 1950s, the plan for the current high school originally called for a performance auditorium that ultimately was never built. Today, the District truly needs a place for our many talented young people to perform. From full-scale musical theatre programs to orchestra and band concerts, student performances have long been held off-campus at a variety of venues such as Twichell Auditorium at Converse College and the Chapman Cultural Center in downtown Spartanburg. While we have enjoyed our partnerships with these organizations, a professional-sized stage on our high school campus would allow the District to accommodate dance, music, drama, classes, school assemblies, community gatherings and more.
The new auditorium would provide performance and meeting space not only for the high school but would ensure that the children in all of our schools have a stage on which to perform. District 7 students are actively engaged in a variety of cultural arts programs and we look forward to further supporting their efforts with a dedicated space to showcase their talents. The new auditorium would serve the entire school district (k-12) throughout the school year and provide a local venue for community use year-round.
Spartanburg High School has never had its own fully functioning stadium and for years has enjoyed a partnership at Wofford College as it relates to its football program only. There are multiple advantages for the high school to have its own stadium. The new stadium would be utilized for football, band, soccer, lacrosse, track, physical education, student assemblies, JROTC drills, physical education, graduations, community events and more.
The new stadium would be located on the high school campus rather than away on the Wofford College campus. Having the stadium at the high school, rather than miles away, will make it easier for the high school to utilize its stadium for a myriad of reasons, as well as make it easier for students to attend events after school. It will also eliminate the need to transport athletes, band members and cheerleaders to home games, to rent and make capital investments in a facility that is not our own and to have greater control in regard to stadium usage and operations.
As Wofford’s own campus and athletic program evolve it is becoming increasingly difficult for the district to enjoy the same degree of partnership that was established decades ago. It is our belief that a new stadium is needed to suit the needs of our athletic program today and for generations to come.
The proposed high school budget of $128 million is inclusive of the complete construction cost of the new facility. Included in these fees are the cost for construction, infrastructure, professional fees, inspections, furniture and equipment, technology, safety and security and contingency fees to name a few. In short, the proposed cost of $128 million is a “turn-key” estimate factored in 2017 construction costs.
No. Detailed cost estimates have been developed for each component of the proposed referendum with the assistance of professional consultants to the District. Estimates were based on costs developed from local and regional cost indicators and market conditions, as well as current bid histories for work of comparable scope and size. The costs are considered to be “total project costs” and are inclusive of construction costs as well as necessary project-related costs such as design fees, permit and plan review fees, furniture, technology and equipment. A contingency factor has also been included in the current project cost estimates.
We are a few years away from having to answer that question, as McCracken students won’t move to the Dupre Drive location until 2020. However, much like our thoughts about the property where Houston and Chapman are currently located, it’s quite possible there would be interest in our community to secure this land for commercial or residential development. Ultimately, this is a decision that our School Board will make.
The major deficiencies at McCracken include the square footage of the original classrooms, which is far below current standards. Additionally, the facility is not the best design for a middle school curriculum, is inadequate for the modern middle school athletic and co-curricular activities, and will be 40 years old when phased out. Moving McCracken to the Dupre site provides students, educators and families with a host of offerings that are either compromised or don’t exist at the current site due to limited space and capacity.
With the improvements at the High School since 2009 (including the athletic fields, the gymnasium, the media center and the Freshman Academy) and the demolition and additions outlined in the Capital Improvement Plan, the new Middle School will be well suited for the needs of McCracken.

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