A new school facility allowing students to live out their dreams in Anderson County


ANDERSON, SC — Anderson District Five has opened its doors to a new fine arts auditorium, that’s thanks to a penny sales tax referendum.

7-News made it out to the new facility ahead of Thursday night’s dedication, to show how your coins are changing lives.

A $6.3 million facility in Anderson houses it all.

“We were last on the list, but we’re glad it’s finally here,” said James Smith, Principal at Southwood Academy of the Arts.

After one year of planning and two years of building, leaders at Southwood Academy of the Arts said a new fine arts auditorium is ready for its first opening act.  

“The fact that we have a new place where we can be ourselves and perform it’s just amazing. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Emma Hunt, 8th grade student.

The hip hop dancer said the stage is her life, and for years her team was practicing in small rooms across the county.  

“Kind of hard transitioning from a smaller space, working spacing it was just a lot more difficult,” Hunt said.

School leaders said a 2014 penny sales tax referendum changed the game.

“We usually have to take all of our stuff with us, load it back out and bring it back over here. With this facility, everything is on site,” Smith said.

The building now has large rehearsal rooms, multiple dressing rooms, and projectors that can create any scene for plays. Hobbs Chambers said he can now showcase his acting on a bigger stage.  

“To have like a real theater right here on campus that we can perform in, means a lot,” said Hobbs Chambers, 8th grade student.

He’s not alone. The new 420 seat auditorium facility will be used for programs like art, band, and much more. Hunt said the new space is more than just a building. She said it will train develop her to becoming a dance studio owner.

“I’ll be able to dance on this stage a lot,” Hunt said.

So the next time you’re on Southwood Street, take a look at your coins and know it’s allowing students to live out their dreams.

“I feel like it’ll help further me as a dancer,” said Hunt.

School leaders said this is the last major project from the penny sales tax. The school held a dedication of the building on Thursday night.

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