ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Anderson School District Five is spending about $7 million dollars to expand its operations downtown, and renovating its district office to handle services.
Anderson School District Five purchased two old bank buildings in downtown. Construction is underway now to renovate one building, and soon they will demolish the other.
“We have bought two buildings downtown. The first building that we’ll be moving into, will house finance and the Superintendent. And the second building will be an instructional service building with our instructional team and some professional development rooms,” said Amy Heard, Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services for Anderson School District Five.
The district’s current office was built in the 1960’s. The district said over time, they’ve added more programs and people, and outgrew that facility.
“We knew in the building that we’re currently in was built in its early 60’s, and before a lot of programs that we’re required to have now, so we have just been adding programs and adding people to this building. So, we were at the point where we had outgrown it, and so we were going to have to do something. Either build on to this building. Build a new transportation building to accommodate everybody that’s already here,” Heard said.
The old building will be more for parents who need assistance for their student, and the new downtown locations will be more for internal use and development.
“The reason that some of the folks were moving downtown is that we want to be accessible here, so that’s why human resources is staying here. Student services, a lot of the divisions that have walk in traffic,” Heard said.
City leaders said the district’s expansion is right in line with its vision to transform downtown.
“We have several buildings downtown, these two being two of the most prominent I’d say that need renovation, that need a little bit of love,” said Andrew Strickland, Assistant City Manager for the City of Anderson.
“School district five had a vision to bring some activity to downtown Anderson that they haven’t had before,” Strickland said.
“We’re shocking the block,” Strickland added.
The second building in downtown will be demolished, and a new facility will be built for instructional services.
“That building will house all the instructional staff that’s currently in this building here. Special Ed, elementary, preschool, middle and high school directors, and then the professional development room,” Heard said. “But to also give us an opportunity to have a training room that we could do a lot of work and professional development for teachers and all of our staff.”
The first building will also have conference rooms, and modern technology.
“The first building there, we are going to have conference rooms on the bottom floor and the second level, and everything is just very upscale modern,” Heard said.
While the city said this move will help with the appearance of downtown, the district said this will help them streamline services at the soon to be renovated old district office.
We hope this will open up more opportunity for people to know exactly where to go,” Heard said.
“Demolition should be starting as we speak. And the first building, the renovations, and the additions to the first building, we are hoping to be moved in there by May of next year. And so currently we just started in the plan phase for the second building last week, so that one will probably be six months to a year behind. So we’re probably looking at 18 months to two years to be fully in with this building being renovated and those two buildings being renovated for full capacity,” Heard said.
Anderson District Five said the project will use money from the one-cent sales tax passed in 2014.