Clover School District turns focus toward new construction

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comMarch 29, 2014 

— With voters approving a $67 million bond for the Clover School District, leaders now turn attention to getting the work done.

The bond approved March 22 will pay part of the $99 million price for five construction projects. District spokesman Mychal Frost said Wednesday that four of those five projects – a new elementary and middle school, field replacements at Clover High School and a new aquatic center – should see the earliest signs of construction in May.

The other project, a conversion of the current Clover Middle School into a ninth grade academy for the high school, will come later.

“There won’t be any work done on that building until the new middle school opens in August 2016,” Frost said.

The ninth grade academy should open in August 2017.

As the district looks forward to new construction, leadership doesn’t want to read too much into the past vote. Overall, 57 percent voted in favor of the bond package. However, a look by precincts shows the vote fell along geographic lines.

The five easternmost precincts are Bethel No. 1, Bethel No. 2, Pole Branch, Wylie and Lakeshore. All five voted against the bond.

The four westernmost precincts are Clover No. 1 and Clover No. 2, along with Bethany and Bowling Green. Each of those precincts had more than three times as many yes votes as no.

Of the seven remaining precincts, only Smyrna and Mill Creek voted against the bond by three votes. Smyrna had 11 votes total. The seven middle precincts combined to vote 61 percent in favor, slightly higher than the 57 percent districtwide yes vote.

Absentee ballots and failsafe ballots favored the bond at 66 percent.

School board member Sherri Ciurlik of Lake Wylie said all board members look out for what’s best for the entire district.

“Each member of our board swears to act in the best interest of the students of Clover School District, so where I live wasn’t a factor in my support of the bond,” Ciurlik said. “As we move forward with building and improvements decided by the yes vote, I think the community will be united in the excitement in positive impact each project brings to our district.”

Ciurlik wasn’t pleased to see so many no votes, but would have been disappointed regardless of their location on the map.

“Obviously, having a group of people opposing the bond was upsetting. Not because of the geography, but because I truly believe the bond was written and designed with the best interest to not only the students, but also the taxpayers,” she said.

Precincts with the highest voter turnout were Bethel No. 2 (27 percent), Lakeshore (20 percent) and Allison Creek (19 percent). Those precincts voted 60 percent against the bond. Bethel No. 2 voted almost three-to-one against the bond and cast the most total votes.

Frost didn’t want to speculate on why the voting lines broke down the way they did.

“At no point did we as a district say let’s see what’s best for this neighborhood or that neighborhood, or this side of the district or that side of the district,” Frost said. “It was, what’s best for all students.”

Frost said the most important take away is the final outcome.

“Our students won,” he said, “as did our community.”

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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