Florence 1 School District leaders tour future site of Southside Middle School

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Florence 1 School District leaders had the chance to walk through the future home of Southside Middle School.

Contractors expect the school to be complete by next summer. The $40 million project is just one of many projects the district has planned.

“People always question, why did you come to Florence,” Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said. “Well, it gave me an opportunity to start with a blank slate and build almost a whole new school district.”

O’Malley said they held a groundbreaking for the new Southside Middle School shortly after he took over as superintendent.

At the time, the district had no money or plan for the school. But now the building is finally beginning to take shape.

“This building will house 1,200 students and will take 6th-grade students out of Southside elementary schools and make them K to 5. It’ll get us out of mobiles and this will be our magnet arts school, so it’ll be a showcase to our region on what arts education should look like,” O’Malley said.

All across Florence, the district is building, expanding, and renovating schools.

West Florence High School is in the middle of a 40,000 sq. ft. expansion.

While the old Southside Middle School will give South Florence High School the ability to house nearly 2,500 students.

“You know this is part of an overall $25 million renovation to all of our schools that many people don’t even see. That we’ll be highlighting in the month of October about what we’re doing in all of our schools, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do is build a school district and not an individual school,” O’Malley said.

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