HARTSVILLE,SC (WBTW) - Groundbreaking ceremonies were held to celebrate the construction of two new Pee Dee elementary schools. Hartsville and Lamar will welcome the new schools in 2020 and get students out of the older buildings.
Both towns will combine two elementary schools for each of the new schools. The projects are valued at $20 million each, which came from a penny sales tax that voters approved back in 2016.
Students at Lamar Elementary and Spaulding Elementary Schools will intertwine into one location across from the intersection of Country Club Rd. and Lamar Highway. Meanwhile, the Hartsville school will have students from Washington Street Elementary and West Hartsville Elementary. The Hartsville location will be on Bay Rd. between Bobo Newsom Highway and Westwinds Drive.
According to school board officials, the schools will bring modern designs and the latest technology for students.
Superintendent of the Darlington County School District, Tim Newman, said the new locations were essential.
"It really is a game changer for our kids to be in a place where they feel safe, comfortable, and can do the best they can to be as successful as they can," Newman said.
In the new schools, students will also experience large spaces for events, open ceilings for sunlight, and wide hallways for walking to class.
Both buildings will have the ability to accommodate up to 650 students.There are currently about 500 students listed for both schools, but the number could change.
In addition to benefiting the students, Newman also believes it could help businesses.
"When you talk about businesses and bringing businesses to the community, the first questions they ask is, "talk to us about your schools". That's the question no matter what community you live in, so we want to be very consistent with the education program we are offering our students," he said.
With the former buildings, the board has not met on what will happen with them. But, they do hope to find them a new purpose.