Beaufort schools move forward on plan to add modular units at Coosa Elementary

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 7, 2014 

Beaufort County Board of Education members listen to a presenter during their Jan. 7, 2014, meeting in Beaufort.

STAFF PHOTO

  • In other action

    At its Jan. 7, 2014 meeting, the Beaufort County Board of Education:

    • decided to formally ask the town of Bluffton to annex the Davis Road property where a new pre-kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school will be built.

The Beaufort County School District is moving forward with a modular unit plan at Coosa Elementary that will allow fifth-graders to return to the school.

The plan was created after the Beaufort County school board voted to return all schools to traditional grade configurations -- through fifth grade at the elementary level -- in October. However, Coosa currently is at 94 percent capacity.

Principal Carmen Dillard said the school currently has about 80 fourth-graders who can now move to fifth grade there instead of going to Lady's Island Middle School.

To make the move in time for the 2014-15 school year, superintendent Jeffrey Moss said the district will need to add the modular units -- which are several connected units rather than freestanding mobiles.

The district does not have specific numbers for the units, furnishings or technology, but expects the project to cost around $400,000, facilities, planning and construction officer Robert Oetting said. That money will come from funds set aside in 2011 for capital projects which can be spent without approval in a referendum.

The district completed the first step of its plan over winter break and removed the four existing portables at the school. The new modular units will likely be put in those locations, Oetting said.

Beaufort schools will begin the permitting process and solicit bids in February. Construction will likely begin in June. Oetting said the work should be completed by the end of July, allowing teachers time to move in.

Moss has said he suspects the units will be at the school for three to four years, allowing the district to decide what kind of permanent structure should be built.

Dillard said fifth graders would likely be taught in the new units.

District officials will meet with the Coosa School Improvement Council on Thursday to discuss security concerns, Dillard said.

"I think it will be really good for the continuity ..., " she said. "We are a leadership-themed school and now students will be able to continue in their education and develop those skills."

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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