Florence School District 1 invests millions in school enhancement projects

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The sound of school bells are being replaced with the sound of construction as Florence School District 1 has several school enhancement projects in the works.

“I’ve said since I got here the Pre-K to 12 school system in Florence is what’s going to carry Florence into the next century, the next decade,” Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said.

FSD1 has already spent nearly $4 million this year adding LED lighting, repainting, and remodeling every school in the district.

Sonya Fraisier-Yarborough, an English teacher at South Florence High School, said these upgrades have given students a school they can be proud of.

“This is their South Florence, this is where they thrive, this is a place they know people are invested in them and stakeholders want to give back, and they want their friends and family to be part of the Bruin family,” Fraisier-Yarborough said.

South Florence serves as the district’s fine arts magnet high school.

The district has made a huge investment in the arts program.

Broadcast and dance studios were already on campus before the district added a recording studio this year.

“To really put our money where our mouth is with our fine arts program, the stage is set for us to be a premier fine arts school, with our facilities and what our students have to be proud of is extraordinary,” South Florence Principal Shand Josey said.

At West Florence High School, construction is underway on a 32-classroom expansion.

Another eight classrooms at Wilson High School are also being renovated.

Eventually, the district plans to turn the old Poyntor Education building into a health science magnet school.

O’Malley said he’s got even more ideas for the future to make Florence 1 even better for students and teachers.

“We really have a long term plan to be the first school district to offer true universal preschool, and that’s a huge part of being a progressive school district or create a teacher village if we want to have the best teachers from around the country we need those benefits to attract them,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley said none of the current projects were funded by taxes. The recent tax increase will create money for district projects much further down the road.

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