Construction firm presents facilities study to school board, identifies needs across School District Five
The Lexington-Richland School District Five Board of Trustees was presented a “District-wide Facilities Need Assessment” report during a special-called school board meeting on Feb. 25.
The 58-page report by M. B. Kahn Construction Co., Inc. includes an overview of the district, background on the assessment process, detailed lists of needs at each of the districts’ 23 schools and recommendations. Initiated in July 2018, the facilities study was requested by the board to assess the district’s current facilities conditions, uses, and maintenance needs; offer options to address school operations issues, such as aging structures; and provide construction strategies responsive to future uses and learning methods.
“The assessment addresses existing facilities’ conditions and needs to provide a blueprint which can be used to reinforce proactive, cost-effective and appropriate actions district-wide,” said Robert Brax, M. B. Kahn director of pre-construction. “Recommended implementation options offered in the report provide construction strategies which will ultimately result in safe, healthy and functional learning spaces, responsive to 21st Century learning methods and facility needs unique to each school.”
While the board did not take action following the presentation Monday, M. B. Kahn officials said the information was aimed at assisting the board with future decision making. District officials say this will be the first of more public discussions, and there will be opportunities for community input as the board reviews the facility needs of the district.
Significant needs were identified at several of the district's older school facilities. The report recommends major renovations or replacement of Nursery Road Elementary and Harbison West Elementary schools, while recommending the district continue discussions regarding options for addressing significant challenges at Irmo High School. Needs were also identified at Chapin High School and Dutch Fork High School.
The report includes an estimated cost of nearly $275.6 million. M. B. Kahn officials said their recommendations to address needs were based on industry standard building capacity figures.
Building capacity is the number of individuals who can occupy a school at any given time. This includes cafeteria space, classroom space, and more. School districts use programming capacity to align available space with instructional needs. This includes the space needed to provide instructional programs and services, such as additional space needed for special needs classroom. School Board Policy IIB limits class size and ensures class sizes not exceed a 25:1 student to teacher ratio in School District Five. Several board members asked that enrollment numbers be considered in future facilities plans and a separate study be conducted for Irmo High School.
“School District Five is recognized as a top school district in South Carolina, and we need the facilities which can best continue our legacy of excellence and prepare for the future,” said Board Chairman Robert Gantt. “We appreciate the work of M. B. Kahn in identifying needs around the district and look forward to finding ways to meet the needs of our staff and students.”
Recognizing over nine decades of continuous operation, M. B. Kahn Construction Co., Inc. provides a variety of construction services to all market sectors across the Southeast. The companies nine strategically located offices allow it to serve a diverse client base. M. B. Kahn has gained recognition as one of the nation’s most esteemed construction firms and are consistently ranked highly by Engineering News Record. With over 90 years of experience as licensed contractors, the firm has a long list of projects and loyal clients.