Pursuing Excellence for Tomorrow's Challenges
Frequently Asked Questions
Architects and engineers were available to discuss design plans for Lexington-Richland School District Five’s new elementary school during a Jan. 24 public information meeting. The drop-in style event was held 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies. The planned location for School District Five’s Elementary School 13 is on Amicks Ferry Road in Chapin, S.C.
In addition to architects and engineers being available to answer questions, members of the public were given the opportunity to provide written comments and questions. Written comments and questions were reviewed for patterns, and questions are answered in this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.
The responses below are numbered to aid in easy correlation to the FAQ key that is included in this document, listing all questions and comments collected during the Jan. 24 meeting and those submitted through the online submission form.
What grade levels will the new school serve?
The grade levels that the new elementary school will serve is still to be determined. Currently, the school design provides flexibility for the school to serve a range of grade levels, from pre-K through 5th grade. (1.1)
How have designers addressed the potential for light pollution and noise pollution?
The design plans for the new school include the use of energy-efficient LED lights, which eliminate or nearly eliminate light pollution where utilized. We are not aware of any components of the architecture or school that will contribute significantly to noise or result in noise pollution. Additionally, designers feel the use of plantings and other screening landscape around the school adequately addresses any risk of noise pollution. (1.2)
Will the school lighting, inside and outside be energy efficient? How will maintenance costs be kept at a minimum?
The new school will feature energy-efficient lighting, which is now required as part of standard building codes for school designs. Plans are to use LED lighting both inside and outside the school, which results in less maintenance and lower operational and energy costs. Highly durable materials will also be used to keep maintenance costs at a minimum. (1.3)
How will the use of glass impact heating and air costs? How will heating and air costs be kept at a minimum?
Today’s equipment is much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. High performance exterior wall systems and glass glazing and shading is planned throughout the building. This technology results in higher energy efficiency, compared to the glass of the past. All energy codes will be met or exceeded in terms of exterior wall performance. (1.4)
Does the design (bathrooms, halls, classrooms, etc.) allow for inclusion of special needs students?
Accommodations for special needs populations were included in the design plans, and the entire building will be assessable to special needs individuals. The number of bathrooms and elevators meet required codes, and the use of the elevator in the design will be limited to students and staff with mobility challenges. Only one elevator is required per code. (1.5)
Explain the use of open space in lobby area and other areas throughout the school?
The space included in the lobby area ensures there is no congestion when students, staff and parents arrive to the school and when students move throughout the school. The design also included extended learning environments near classrooms. This space is flexible, will be used for instruction, and is reflective of current teaching styles that require students to collaborate, communicate and build other skills needed for today’s work environments. (1.6)
Why was a two-story design chosen?
Two-story school designs are common industry practice today for all grade levels. Because two-story buildings are more compact, it’s more efficient for circulation of students and staff throughout the school. Two-story schools are also a benefit to safety and security of the school, limiting school perimeters. Costs are also reduced by having a two-story school. (1.7)
Does the design for the new school fit the landscape of the area?
Having the school fit into its natural environment was a key focus of the design team, and several steps have been taken to ensure this concern is addressed. Materials that are indigenous to the area and natural in nature (stone, brick, etc.) are planned. Colors and curved shapes on the outside of the building and throughout the building have also been planned. (1.8)
What is being considered in terms of safe school design? Does the use of glass throughout the building pose a safety issue?
Nationally-renown safety and security expert Phil A. Santore of security consulting and engineering firm DVS met with our design team over the course of a few days, reviewing plans for the new school and making recommendations to enhance safety and security while balancing the educational goals as determined by the committee. Getting his input and using his expertise was not required, but something the design team thought was important in planning for the new school. The use and type of glass throughout the building will be impact resistant and placed strategically. (1.9)
Are the staircases safe for students? Aren’t cantilevered structures more expensive to build.
Guardrail heights are determined by code. Staircases and railings will meet or exceed requirements, and student supervision will be in effect. All railings also meet or exceed required heights for elementary school students.
The only cantilevered structure is on the exterior of the property. It is tethered to the main structure to have minimal impact on cost. (1.10)
Will having a two-story school pose any safety issues in terms of evacuations, etc.?
We are not aware of any safety or security issues that have occurred in two-story schools in South Carolina. Additionally, many of the safety measures are addressed by building codes, and in many cases the design of School District Five’s new school design meet or exceed the requirements. For example, width-of-stairs per number-of-students ratios are determined by building code, and the current design exceeds this determination. The distance that students and staff will have to travel to evacuate the building is also addressed by standard building codes and regulations. (1.11)
Is the bus loading area too small for parents picking up and dropping off students?
No cars will be allowed in the bus loading area. The car loop is separate from where buses will enter to load and unload students. The current design exceeds all South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) standards for bus stacking (i.e. areas off the roadway for vehicles). (1.12)
How is potential car build-up along Amicks Ferry Road addressed in the design?
Compared to the average elementary school in our area, the current design includes double the amount of car queuing or stacking (i.e. off-road areas), which is intended to prevent build-up on Amicks Ferry Road. The car queuing will also be wider than average to account for circulation of any emergency vehicles that may need access while cars are queued.
The District is complying with all elements of a traffic study, which has been accepted and approved by SCDOT. All road improvements in the new elementary school design have been accepted and approved by SCDOT. (1.13)
Are there plans to widen the road and add traffic lights?
The roadway around the school will be widened and additional turning lanes will be implemented as part of design plans. The South Carolina Department of Transportation will determine if traffic lights are needed. The agency has not identified that need at this time, given the other improvements included in plans for the new elementary school. (1.14)
Will plans for the new school include improvements to roads near the school?
A turn lane will be added to Lake Tide Road as part of the new school design plan. At this time, SCDOT has not identified a perceived need for improvements on other roads near the school. (1.15)
Is anything being done to ensure that emergency vehicles can easily access the school when needed?
Queuing lanes will be wider than usual with a special rolled curb, allowing emergency vehicles access even when cars are queued (i.e. located in the off-road car rider line). This is required by the State Fire Marshal. (1.16)
Will students who currently attend existing elementary schools in the District be allowed to remain at their current elementary school?
The District will make every attempt to be family friendly and accommodate the needs of families impacted by the redrawing of attendance lines. Plans for redrawing attendance lines will be completed and shared at a later date. (1.17)
Why not just rezone? Has there been any consideration for rezoning instead of building a new school, and what areas will students attending the new school come from?
The District has determined that a new school is needed in the Chapin area. The District will redraw attendance lines (i.e. rezone) as part of plans to open elementary school 13. The Administration has stated that rather than rezone now to address overcrowding and again in a few years, the most viable and less disruptive approach is to rezone once, as part of the natural process of redrawing attendance lines when new schools are opened. Plans for redrawing attendance lines will be completed and shared at a later date. (1.18)
Why wasn’t the school built several years ago, and why doesn’t the District place the school on the property it owns on Derricks Pond Road?
An extensive report on the Derrick Pond property was provided at the January 28 School Board meeting. Please visit www.lexrich5.org/schoolboard (2018-2019 Board Meeting Information webpage) to learn more. (1.19)
What other properties were vetted during the school site selection process as outlined in the District’s guidelines? Why was Amicks Ferry Road chosen?
The District followed Policy FEE in acquiring the property on Amicks Ferry Road. In selecting the site, the District retained the state's leading school site consultant, a professional that has sited more than 100 school sites in South Carolina. He evaluated the area and looked for potential school sites. After that evaluation, he made a recommendation and the District ultimately purchased the recommended site.
Question and Comment Key
This section of the FAQ document lists all the questions and comments that were submitted in writing at the Jan. 24 public meeting and those submitted using the online form. They include numbers to show corresponding responses, where applicable.
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
- Any school located on Amicks Ferry Road is a mistake! Please listen to the parents and citizens of our community instead of pushing this ridiculous agenda. AFR is not the place for a new school. Redraw the lines already. (1.18)
- Rezone (1.18)
- No middle school down AFR. (N/A)
- The concept is modern and long overdue. Well done! Please expedite the process and remember that students at other schools deserve modern amenities too. Playgrounds and similar dated facilities should be of equal quality at all schools. (N/A)
- Absolutely beautiful design! It fits the ever changing needs of students and teachers while accommodating community growth. So excited about this beautiful addition to the district. (N/A)
- I feel better about this elementary school coming in on AMFR. I am happy to see all the plans for traffic flow and turn lanes. The building design looks fabulous! Great job for the information district gal working station. (N/A)
- We live in a subdivision on Amick’s Ferry Road and our yard borders Amick’s Ferry. We are past the new school site. We are very excited about this much needed elementary school being built in our community! Our two grandchildren ages 6 and 2 will be able to attend this school just a couple of miles from their house. Thanks to all involved for your hard work on this project. (N/A)
- The plan looks good. Well done! (N/A)
- As a high school student aspiring to teach, I’m in awe! Super looking forward to see what it will look like! (N/A)
- The new school appears well thought out. It is a beautiful facility and is much needed to relieve overcrowding. Thank you for building such a necessary school for the children of LexRich5. I look forward to visiting it in person in the very near future. (N/A)
- If you think you just need to address the road in front of the school you are kidding yourself. (N/A)
- The traffic count is 10,000 cars/day. This school will increase that to 25,000/day and increase risk of accidents and put students in more danger. (1.13)
- The proposed school design is too fancy and out of step with the salaries of the people who will have to pay to maintain and run it. Unneeded staff to maintain grounds, fancy lights to be changed from tall ladders, way too much glass. (1.8) (1.3)
- The building is appalling. Too much wasted space in corridors, open classroom areas. Classrooms where children will not be able to concentrate. We need a no nonsense building where the heating and cooling costs will be reasonable. There are not safe areas if a gunman comes in with shooting gallery style corridors. (1.3) (1.4) (1.6) (1.9)
- Wrong location for an elementary school which has so few classrooms in proportion to other space. Encouraging builders to put more houses on Amick’s Ferry with a school can only lead to access problems and portable classrooms. (N/A)
- Chapin is not L.A. we don’t have the money to build another fancy school. Irmo High School should show you how expensive it is to run a fancy wasted space school. (N/A)
- What a thorough message! The design is the beautiful with the “open light” areas for learning efficiency. (N/A)
- Design-poor use of space for learning. Location- inappropriate. Potential for wrecks on narrow country road unacceptable. Cost to run school utilities extremely high. (1.3) (1.6)
- You need to find a more realistic place to build a school. The traffic on Amicks Ferry Rd is a 7 day a week nightmare now. I believe this site was chosen solely for the convenience of the lake homeowners farther out Amick’s Ferry, and that not a single person involved in the decision is forced to use AF Rd at all. SCDOT doesn’t use one inch of extra concrete to pave any project, hence years old severe potholes, deep muddy roadside ditches, and sharp 90 degree turns onto intersecting roads all over the county. Using Amick’s Ferry Road as an example, every time a car turns onto a smaller rd, traffic backs up waiting for the driver to slowly creep thru the turn, because there are no gradual turns built into the pavement. Turn on inch to sharply and your car could fall into a 6’ deep ditch. Now most likely because of the school, cheaply built, filmsy, cracker box houses are popping up in the area. To the backward and narrow minded yahoos running the state of SC: IMPROVE AND BUILD ROADS and other infrastructure before you allow more housing/school/business development of ANY KIND in these absurdly crowded high traffic areas. Lex Co is an incredibly poorly planned county. Planning commissioners: you have allowed and voted for the almighty developers to legally build TWELVE houses per acre in some places?! Why is this GREED tolerated by count and state voters? This, and believing that Amick’s Ferry Rd is an appropriate area for a school, are great examples of why SC consistently ranks in the BOTTOM five US states for anything desirable. Google that. (N/A)
- Pretty school, horrible location. I would rather see the money spent on other things. (N/A)
- Why does the school include 5th grade when the other elementary schools in the cluster only serve K-4? (1.1)
- How will light pollution be addressed? This is a rural area and there are many farms nearby who do not need or want light pollution to disrupt farming. (1.2)
- Will school lighting, inside and outside be energy efficient? (1.3)
- With so much glass and open space at the school, how efficient will heating and air actually be? (1.4)
- How will noise pollution be addressed? (1.2)
- Will the school be built for inclusion and inclusion programming? (1.5)
- Why is there only one bathroom to be shared between two special education classrooms? Is that enough? (1.5)
- There seems to be too much wasted space in the atrium and corridors and open area classrooms where children will not be able to concentrate. (1.6)
- How will you keep heating and air costs down? (1.4)
- How will you maintain such a fancy building at a low cost? (maintaining the grounds and changing light bulbs) (1.4) (1.3)
- Why was the 2 story design plan chosen since there seems to be enough land to have the school be 1 story? (1.7)
- This is a neighborhood school in a rural setting, why not build a school that looks like it belongs there? Why not design a school on the outside that fits the landscape and then fancy it up on the inside? (1.8)
- I don’t understand how the open stair cases and the loft like area on the 2nd floor can be safe for elementary students. I can only imagine what might go over them!!! Also aren’t cantilevered structures more expensive to build??? (1.10)
- What security measures are being taken in the event kids need to be evacuated from the second floor? (1.11)
- Why only one elevator? (1.5)
- There is a lot of glass inside the building…is that safe? (1.9)
- What is being considered in terms of a safe school design? (1.9)
- 2 things bother me for safety reasons 1)the expanse of glass and 2)the open staircases and the loft like space with no wall, only a rail height glass, above. These are young children. Can you imagine how many things will go over those rails, intentionally or not??? And I certainly hope it won’t be a child! (1.11) (1.10)
- Bus loading area is too small for parents picking up and dropping off, they say it will clog the road. (1.12)
- How are you going to stop car buildup from car riders waiting in the afternoon from backing up Amicks Ferry Road? (1.13)
- Are there plans to widen the road and add traffic lights? (1.14)
- How will you address traffic that will overflow to St. Peters Road, Paul Fulmer Road and Lake Tide? (1.14)(1.15)
- How will you make sure that Amicks Ferry Road is equipped to safely have school buses and cars because right now it is not equipped to handle it safely? (1.13)
- Amicks Ferry is a dead end road, what is being done to improve any of the other roads that could be used to access the school for example Paul Fulmer Road is a dirt road and only one lane that people may try to use? (1.13)(1.15)
- How is the traffic situation, especially for emergency vehicles, going to be handled? (1.16)
- Are there any considerations for the children presently at one of the Elementary schools to remain there even if you live in the rezoned district? (Ie at CES but live on RB Baker Road) (1.17)
- Why not just rezone instead of building a new school? (1.18)
- I would like to know why we had to wait 7 years for a school once it was determined that the originally purchased property was not useable????? Where did the money go for that school? And if that was the proper area for the school (and it was) why wasn’t that land sold and new property bought in the same vicinity as soon as possible? If that were done, we would not be building a school where it is not needed on an unsafe, peninsula road now. (1.19)
- I would like to know where the students who will be attending this school are going to come from as the Amicks Ferry corridor does not have nearly the number needed for this school. (1.18)
- I would like to know what other properties were vetted during the school site selection process as outlined in the district’s guidelines. And why this site on an unsafe peninsula road, where is less growth than other areas, was chosen. (1.20)