Lexington-Richland District 5 officials say it will take a while. Completion is expected in 2025.
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Irmo High School will soon get a nearly $50 million facelift.
The replacement of the school’s east wing is such a huge project, school district officials want to get feedback from the community on what it should look like.
Local residents and students were invited to offer their input into plans for the new wing at a public meeting May 18 at the Irmo High School auditorium. They were also given a description of the project, which will include 60 new classrooms, a media center and administrative offices in a 60,000 square foot structure with two to three stories.
Attendees were invited to go to several different “stations” showing the different models for the project and provide their opinions on the new building. Choices included samples of wall art, outdoor settings, history exhibits and more.
Board Chair Jan Hammond said the project is particularly important because it further enhances the reputation of a school that is the “flagship” of District 5 and is recognized throughout the state.
“The pride is alive and well,” she said. “It’s a new chapter of pride and leadership.”
The school made changes earlier this year to deal with other issues.
It retooled its class structure following a February student walkout over concerns about safety and sexual harassment accusations, establishing the Nest, a separate academy within the school designed to isolate problem students and provide remedial academic instruction and discipline.
District 5 Superintendent Akil Ross said the words “Irmo Strong” come to mind when he envisions the upcoming facelift.
A room in the old wing that featured exhibits showing Irmo High accomplishments, known as Pride Hall, will be re-established in the new wing.
It’s not just a new building that’s coming, Ross said. The new wing will come with new programs, including a plan to offer a course for “students who want to learn how to start their own business.
But the motivation behind the project is the declining conditions of the aging building, with cracked floors, inadequate windows and old plumbing. District officials said it doesn’t meet the needs of a modern educational facility.
Irmo Mayor Barry Walker Sr. said Irmo High, located on St. Andrews Road in the heart of Irmo, is strongly identified with the town. He often refers to it as the “University of Irmo.”
In his public address, Walker said the school reflects the outstanding resources now being offered by Lexington-Richland School District 5, recognized as one of the best school districts in the state. He said he had a good personal experience with the school staff when his son had a health issue that was effectively addressed by the school.
The current estimate for the cost of the project is $47.5 million, but the final cost could change. Board members say the project will be paid for through the district’s current loan programs and will not require a millage increase.
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