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Florence One board hears plan for separate graduation days

September 7, 2018
Richard O'Malley

Richard O'Malley

FLORENCE, S.C. – During the Florence School District One School Board meeting on Thursday night, the school board discussed the possibility of changing the Florence One graduation ceremonies from one day to three separate days.

The board is expected to vote on the issue at the next board meeting. Under a new procedure, the board is using its first meeting of the month for discussion only, not for action.

In addition to discussing graduation, the board also discussed plans for Sneed Middle School, Williams Middle School and Savannah Grove Elementary School.

Representatives from The Florence Center presented a plan at the meeting for splitting the graduation ceremonies into three days: Wednesday, June 5, Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7. The ceremonies would take place at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

According to Brian Davison, who is a representative from The Florence Center, breaking the graduations into three separate days would cut the expenses by $15,000 to $20,000. The money saved would come from labor costs of parking attendants and law enforcement, as well as the meals provided to individuals working the event.

Davison said the graduation ceremonies are rushed and do not allow for students to celebrate with their families, but with the modified graduation schedule, there would be ample time for families to take pictures with their senior.

Florence One Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley presented survey results with students’ and parents’ opinions of the proposed graduation changes during the board meeting; the students and parents supported the possible change.

O’Malley also said the money saved with the proposed plan is important to recognize.

The school board also discussed proposed building plans for Sneed Middle School and Williams Middle Schools, as well as Savannah Grove Elementary Schools.

The proposed middle school plans could hold 1,200 students each, placing classrooms around the outer perimeter of the school and housing the gymnasium, cafeteria and library in the center of the school, which will help cut costs in building. The schools will also be built with pre-cast concrete to decrease the building time by 20 percent.

The school would cost approximately $35 million to fit 1,200 students; however, each of the middle schools needs at least a capacity of 1,400 students. To add the additional eight classrooms to accommodate the 1,400 students would cost about $2 million.

The proposed design for the school would increase visibility and increase safety, according to Chairman Barry Townsend.

A plan for Savannah Grove Elementary School will look similar to Delmae Elementary School, but it will have a personalized appearance. Currently, the plan for Savannah Grove provides for 800 students, but has room for additional classrooms to expand with the school’s growth.

Some board members expressed concerns about not taking care of projects in other schools needing renovations, but O’Malley said the district still has the money to complete renovations in schools such as Carver Elementary School and McLaurin Elementary School. According to O’Malley, the renovations can be done soon.

“We are talking about today, this year doing some of those things,” O’Malley said.

The next board meeting will be on Sept. 20.

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