It’s official, a middle school in Gaffney with 500 kids will be closing its doors for good in June.
Granard Middle School has been one of the most popular middle schools in Cherokee County when it comes to school choice, but the building needs costly repairs.
This week, the school board decided it was time to close the doors for good as of June 30.
“I know a few of the teachers actually cried when they heard the news,” Sarah Beth, former Granard student, said.
“Really, I don’t want it closed because a lot of people went here especially me and my brothers and sisters they graduated from here,” said Becky Littlejohn, Granard student from 1967 to 1969.
The school board couldn’t justify the $11 million price tag to fix issues like the HVAC, plumbing, flooring and other needed upgrades.
This week, the board voted to send the 500 students mostly to Gaffney Middle and a few to Ewing Middle while the district comes up with funds to build a new middle school on property it already owns near Gaffney High.
”That commitment is there and it’s in writing and of course I’ve tried to reassure our communities that the board has voted in that so we hope that would stay in place,” Interim Superintendent Donald Andrew said.
He said it’s necessary but he knows is hard to swallow for parents.
“They’re both going to be overcrowded so either way you go it’s not going to be great,” said Mary Wright, a Gaffney mother of three.
Gaffney Middle used to be a high school, so it has the capacity to hold more than 1100 students. And over the summer it will be retrofitted to have more classrooms.
The district said all staff at Granard will have positions at the remaining middle schools to maintain as small a class size as possible.
Meanwhile, school choice for affected families is back open for one week so parents can weigh in on which school they want their child to attend.
For Wright, it’s still not much of a choice.
“We have no control,” Wright said.
The fate of the building is still up in the air. There has been talk of perhaps making it into a community center. Whatever the use, maintenance will remain an issue.
As for the new school, that would be at least five to six years off.