MCSD officials discuss Eastside property, bond referendum, and old SOD site

Marlboro County School District officials said there has been no discussion about building luxury condos on the Eastside School property near Lake Paul Wallace.
It was one of several topics discussed by Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord Wednesday during the district’s Zoom community meeting.
McCord said the district has had discussions but he wouldn’t name the partner they sat down and talked to. 
“But we have had discussions about what the possibilities might be for that area,” he said. “And in those discussions at no time has there ever been a discussion about luxury condos.”
He added there has been discussion about what could be done to improve or enhance the landscape. 
Possibilities included affordable homes and affordable apartments being placed on the site. 
Talks have also included the possibility of senior citizen walking or nature trails for the community. 
“We talked about recreational activities that can be placed on that site,” McCord said. “But most importantly we talked about how this endeavor, if  completed, would overall enhance not just the landscape but help build and contribute to Marlboro County as a whole.”
McCord felt the type of activities offered would increase the infrastructure for jobs to support the local economy and to increase the property values here in Marlboro County as a whole.
“It gives us something that we can do together,” he said. “It also gives us a chance to bring light to a beautiful area here in Marlboro County which I think is one of the most majestic and scenic places here in Marlboro County because it overlooks the lake. The lake property to me is one of the best that I’ve seen ever anywhere.”
McCord added that at no time has there been or will there be any talks about forgetting the history or the legacy of the property. 
“We all are fully aware and fully knowledgeable of the history related to Eastside High Bennettsville Middle School and Bennettsville Elementary,” he said. “As we continue with our talks, we would like to have conversations that will be productive in helping us preserve those legacies and in whichever way, shape, or form possible. But again having conversations with everyone at the table will definitely improve our status and chances of getting something done.”
He added the district has not and cannot afford to do anything with the property in its current state of condition.  
McCord invited everyone to the table that would like to talk and discuss what we could do together in the best interest for the community as a whole. 
He encouraged people to call him at 843-521-7631 or let him know where he could come and meet with a group or organization. 
“Or let me know if we can get you in front of the board for some type of public participation where we can all sit and discuss what the best plans for this are,” McCord said.  “So we are very fortunate to be able to start a conversation with any group and looking forward to have continued conversations with other groups as well.” 

Bond referendum 
McCord talked about the 2018 bond referendum. 
He showed the timeline of projects that extend from 2018 -2023. The list can be found on the district’s website at www.marlboro.k12.sc.us.
He said all but two projects have been completed.
Those projects will include the roof and parking lot at Marlboro County High School.
“We have all but completed as well as added two projects that improve not only the safety infrastructure of our buildings but also we provided cost efficient lighting that definitely increases our bottom line here in Marlboro County,” McCord said. “And we have been able to make all of our buildings and all of our structures to be presentable with the exception of those that are not being used in full capacity.” 
Voters approved a $10 million bond referendum. 
McCord said the board approved $15.4 million in projects to be completed. It left a gap of about $5.4 million, he said.
District officials said they had done everything possible to be good stewards of taxpayer’s money. 
“We have been able to come up with funds that will get us close to completing all of the projects,” he said. “When you hear conversations about there being a shortfall of three or four hundred thousand dollars. Please know that it is because the goal for me always was to complete the $15.4 million in projects.”
McCord added the $10 million bond money was used in the was designed and approved for it to be used.
Bennettsville Intermediate School was a big priority in the bond referendum with funds used to build a new cafeteria, renovate the auditorium, demolish the two wings that were located to the rear of the building and improve the landscape.  
On Wednesday, the district had its final inspection and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in the next couple of weeks.
He thanked the community for their trust in letting them get this work done for students.

Old School of Discovery
McCord said the district is partnering with the Clio community so it can take possession of the old School of Discovery.
Plans included for it to be a multi-purpose building with community events and office space.
The Town of Clio will be responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and liability of the building at all times. 
McCord said the district would loosen its control of the building once a contract has been negotiated and executed.
“This is a win-win for not just the school district because it gives us a chance to give back to the community,” he said. “It gives the community a chance to have a place to meet and congregate and talk about shared community ideals.”
 

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