Controversy looms over the location of the North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies

Controversy looms over the location of the North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies
July 11 12:10 2017 Print This Article

Charleston County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait’s Listening Tour continued Monday, July 9 at Garrett Academy of Technology. Garrett is a magnet technology school located in North Charleston which accepts students from throughout Charleston County. CCSD has a Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) at the Wando Campus that offers 37 career programs. The 2014 sales tax referendum passed by the voters in Charleston County calls for two more CASs, one on the West Ashley High School Campus and one in North Charleston.

CCSD has proposed tearing down the North Charleston High School football stadium and build the CAS there. $42.7 million has been allocated for this project with a target to open in 2020. It is across the street from the newly renovated North Charleston High School (NCHS). This CAS would provide technology programs for all North Charleston High Schools. With new industry locating in North Charleston, it is important to provide state-of-the art training for its citizens. There have been complaints that the Boeing plant in North Charleston has had to recruit workers from out of the area due to an ill-prepared work force in Charleston.

Currently, North Charleston High School has only about half the enrollment that its capacity allows. The CCSD staff has proposed moving the North Charleston residents attending Garrett (243 during the past school year) over to NCHS and closing Garrett. This has upset community members and Garrett teachers. Garrett teachers feel they have been left in limbo for several years. With rumors swirling about the closure of Garrett, students are reluctant to enroll and enrollment has dropped. Community members feel this area has been neglected and their input ignored. Several community members want to see Garrett rebuilt with the CAS located there. It is a larger property than the NCHS site. However, North Charleston City Councilman Bob King wants the facility located at the NCHS site. He states that this is what’s best for the students and provides a trained work force needed for new industry.

The CCSD staff is still considering what programs the CAS will have.  Lee Runyon, Principal on Special Assignment for the West Ashley and North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies stated that two things to consider when determining the programs will be the Chamber of Commerce’s projections for business and industry needs, as well as the career interests of students in grades 5 – 9 who plan to attend CAS.