Gilbert, SC (Paul Kirby) – On Tuesday night, Lexington School District One agreed to purchase the last piece of property needed to build the new elementary school that will serve the Gilbert attendance area. This parcel of property, which is just under 1 acre in size, is located on Augusta Hwy. (Hwy. #1). The district has agreed to purchase the property for $125,000. The property is adjacent to a larger parcel that the district purchased on September 14, 2017. This entire tract is where District One plans to build a new elementary school.
The originally purchased property was just smaller than it needed to be to meet the recommendation of the SC Department of Education. Those state guidelines set many standards such as road frontage, acreage, and other factors. These standards factor what grade levels the school will serve, the number of students to be accommodated, and many other factors. They also increase sightlines and eliminate a dangerous practice that used to be common statewide that forced parents waiting to pick up or drop off students to sit in line in their cars on public roads. This practice, known as stacking, can still be seen at some of the district’s older schools like Red Bank Elementary. There, cars still wait in a long line on the shoulder of Community Drive, the two-lane public road that feeds that school site. Luckily, Community Drive is a road that’s not heavily travelled and because the area is more residential, the speed of cars using it is lower, causing less danger of an accident. Having parents wait or stack on a busy, multi-lane road like Augusta Highway would be unsafe as vehicles travel past at a much higher speed. Even though traffic enforcement and signals can help, getting the cars off the highway and onto the school’s property to wait is still the safer practice.
Sightlines are the clear distance a driver can see before attempting to merge into traffic when exiting a site. Having hills or curves that limit sight lines can also cause accidents as motorists try to pull off the school’s property back into the traffic of a road like Augusta Highway. The longer sightlines are also a safety enhancement for the new school.
In a statement the district e-mailed Tuesday, Chief Communications Officer Mary Beth Hill said regarding the need to buy this additional parcel, “The purchase of the site gives the district provides additional frontage and improved sight lines for parents coming to and from the school.”
This last purchase paves the way for construction to begin soon to replace the old elementary school that’s in the town of Gilbert. That school, one of the older properties in the district’s inventory, is simply too small to add onto the existing building. Limited room for stacking lanes and other factors simply made it unsuitable for further expansion. You can see and follow the construction of the district’s ambitious five-year building plan by following their webpage specifically for that purpose at www.lexington1.net/about/building-plan.