School board approves $18.3 million bid for Darlington-area elementary school

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

The Darlington County Board of Education approved a bid for the new Darlington area elementary school and also announced groundbreaking information for it, August 13 at their monthly board meeting.

The bid approved by the board came from Edcon Inc., from Peak, South Carolina.

Dale Collier, President of Brownstone Construction Group, spoke to the board about his recommendation.

“You have before you in your packets bid results for the new Darlington area elementary school that was taken recently with five bids coming in for that project,” Collier said. “We reviewed those bids after having all five bidders, who were pre-qualified to participate in this process. We talked about the low bidder Edcon, Inc. and you have before you a recommendation from our standpoint that we award this project in that low bid indicated…to a sum of $18,273, 810. We have talked with the contractor and they are excited about doing the work. We’ve also had meetings not only with him but also with the architect, Joe Carter. We have done work with them in the past and we feel comfortable making this recommendation tonight.”

The board gave unanimous approval of the low bid, with Dr. Thelma Dawson making the motion.

A groundbreaking for the Darlington site will be held August 28 at 10 a.m.

The new Darlington area school will combine the student populations of Cain Elementary and Brunson-Dargan Elementary Schools, both of which are over 50 years old. The name of the new combined school has yet to be determined.

Three schools are to be built simultaneously in Darlington, Hartsville and Lamar; the Darlington school’s bid is the first to come before the board. It is also the only one of the three to be built on property already owned by the district; the other two pieces of property were identified as a potential site based on a list of criteria and then purchased.

Collier said that he is confident that dirt will begin to be moved at Cain in September. This project is the most complex, requiring working around the existing building and demolishing that building once the new school is completed.

The highest bid submitted for the Darlington school came in at nearly $24 million.

In other business, Superintendent Tim Newman announced that Mayo High School had completed a pilot program for parents to pay registration fees online.

“That is something that we have been looking at for the past few months,” Newman said. “The pilot was conducted at Mayo because we wanted it at one of our smaller schools to make sure that if there were any glitches we were able to work through that. I’m happy to report that everything went well with that process. Our next steps will be to use the system for online fees for more of our schools throughout the year. It will not be as heavy as load as registration is but more of the regular fees the come up throughout the course of the year. Once we finish that, the plan will be for registration next year that we have registration fees payable online for all of our schools. “

Newman also told the board that the district would go back to naming a valedictorian and salutatorian for each its high schools. In years past, the district named Board Scholars, students who earned a certain GPA, but did not identify the top two students graduating.

“Per our discussions in our board retreat and various other conversations we will be identifying valedictorians and salutatorians at all four of our high schools,” Newman said.

Author: Rachel Howell

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