Lexington 2 Board updated on performing arts center

By Al Dozier

The Lexington District 2 Board received an update at the August 20 meeting on one of the district’s biggest projects to date: a state-of-the art performing arts center.

The center will be located on a 28-acre site at 12th Street Extension and Saxe Gotha Road. It  will feature a glassed entrance and two balconies with seating for as many as 2,000.

The district office, now located on Ninth Street in West Columbia, will move into the center. The superintendent’s office and student services offices will also be located in the buildings.

The cost of the project is expected to amount to around $43 million.

It’s a unique project that is already getting widespread attention throughout the Cayce-West Columbia area

“There’s not any other like it in the state,” said Superintendent William James.

The facility, which is located near area schools, will be available for large gatherings, conferences and meetings.

The board received a rundown on schematics and observed pictures of site work, and projections of what the center will look like when it is completed in the summer of 2023. The board will take final action to proceed with the project in October.

In other action the board was advised of school schedules adjusted to accommodate changes resulting from coronavirus safety measures.

LEAP (Learn, Evaluate, Analyze and Prepare) Week, Aug. 24-28, will provide an early opportunity for 4K-8th grade students to prepare for the school year and learn about the opportunities that will be available. The first day of school is scheduled for Sept.8.

James said the district is anticipating both student and teacher concerns about the classroom process as social distancing and masks are required in schools. Some students may not be properly wearing masks, and some teachers are not comfortable with virtual teaching, but James said the district “will try to be as accommodating as possible.”

Board members expressed concerns that some classrooms look more like doctor’s offices as masked teachers wear “scrubs” on the job.

James said the district has received free contributions of masks that will be available to students and teachers.

To make sure the old water fountains throughout the district do not pose health problems, the district has installed 28 water bottle filling stations throughout the district.

In other action the board approved the purchase of a new mowing machine for $34,953.

The board also approved a contract for $10,400 for the demolition of some old portables at the Pair Educational Center. The board also approved a contract for $3,800 for stream mitigation needed on school properties in the Platt Springs Road area.