New footprint for Sweetgrass campus taking shape

  • Thursday, February 27, 2014

This is an overhead view of the new Jennie Moore Elementary School and Laing Middle School footprint. IMAGES PROVIDED BY CUMMINGS CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT COMPANY

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The town of Mount Pleasant and the Charleston County School District (CCSD) are working side by side to complete a large project for East Cooper. By the summer of 2015, the new Jennie Moore Elementary School and Laing Middle School will be completed along with Phase IV of Hungryneck Boulevard.

Jennie Moore Elementary used to sit on an oak-laden piece of property along Hamlin Road, while Laing Middle School is off Six Mile Road, along Highway 17 N. By 2015, they will share a campus at the old Jennie Moore site, each with the capacity to house 1,200 students.

It will be called Sweetgrass Campus and sits on more than 30 acres.

The architectural design for both schools calls for their front, main entrances to face each other. However, Laing Middle School, which will abut Hamlin Road, will have a back facade that appears to look as if it is the front.

According to Harold Lee, Sr., Project Manager for Cummings Corporation, both buildings will be similar in design and architectural features but have separate entrances for both bus drop-off and parents drop-off lines. There will be no shared drop-off, he said. The architect was Jumper Carter Sease of Columbia, who also designed Cainbay High School. Traffic flow was considered greatly, he said, in conjunction with the extension of Hungryneck Boulevard (or Sweetgrass Boulevard). CCSD funded part of this extension.

As far as student capacity, he explained, the school board decided to build out for 1,200 students now rather than expand later.

Bids for both schools have been awarded and a notice to proceed has been given.

Thompson Turner Construction out of Sumter will construct Jennie Moore and Contract Construction out of Sumter will construct Laing. Both are familiar with CCSD. Thompson Turner is constructing Sullivan's Island Elementary School, while Contract Construction is completing the Wando Center for Advanced Studies.

A local company, Weaver Site Contracting, is completing the early site package, which involves clearing, installing utilities, building pads and installing earthquake drains, parking lots and roadways.

Notice to proceed for the building contractor went into effect this week.

“Vertical construction will be visible in a month or so,” Lee said.

The site features grand trees, and the majority of them were preserved despite the large footprint of both schools.

An eight-foot sidewalk will meander through campus, connecting both schools via a crosswalk at their entrances.

Laing Middle School will feature a large soccer field and a full-sized competition gym. Jennie Moore Elementary School will feature a standard multi-purpose space/cafeteria.

“This has been a team effort on everyone's part from design to planning,” said Lee.

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