Dixie High School opened up for public tour

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DUE WEST, S.C. (WSPA) – Parents in Abbeville County are concerned about conditions at two high schools in the district, originally built more than six decades ago.

“I don’t think you would send a prisoner to some of these bathrooms at both of these schools,” said parent Jo Beth Hite.

7News joined a public tour of Abbeville High School Tuesday and a public tour of Dixie High School Thursday.

The issue is in the spotlight because the school board is getting cost estimates for re-building both schools in phases and building a new, consolidated high school. Parents agree that something needs to be done, but not everyone agrees on how to address the aging buildings.

Dixie High School was built piecemeal, with parts of the schools built in the ’70s, parts built in the early ’00s, and original parts built in the ’50s.

“I’m glad to see that they are doing a really good job of keeping up their building here,” Hite said of Dixie. “I think this building is salvageable.”

According to the Dixie High School assistant principal, a group of citizens has raised more than $250,000 for the school since 2004 with the Dixie High School Foundation.

Hite toured both schools this week.

“I don’t think the Abbeville building is still salvageable,” she said.

However, she also said she thought the newer wing at Abbeville High built in 2002 was nicer than some older areas of Dixie High. Several parents told 7News they were shocked by the conditions at Abbeville High School this week.

Concerns came to light at a school board meeting a few weeks ago. One woman held up a water bottle filled with yellow water that she said came from Abbeville High School.

“We immediately went in and assessed the water situation at the high school,” said Abbeville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Julie Fowler. “Part of the problems at the high school are the result of pipes.”

She said the the city has since flushed the pipes. 7News observed the water from sinks and water fountains at Abbeville High School to be clear Tuesday.

Fowler said the district also did three tests for air quality and cleaned problem areas twice.

“At this point in time, we are comfortable in saying we have a report that says that the air quality is fine, or is safe, for students and our faculty and staff to be in,” she said.

Several members of the community told 7News they are very concerned about the cost to update.

The final decision about what will happen with the high schools will be up to voters.

Several members of the community told 7News they are very concerned about costs, both for re-building the schools and consolidating them.

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