The End of an Era

The End of an Era

Harbor View Elementary demolition planned, construction to follow

By Charlie Morrison

Contributing Writer

The structure that serves as home to Harbor View Road Elementary School has stood the test of time. For more than six decades it weathered the salty, corrosive air in the Lowcountry with time-tested strength. And while the building has certainly proven durable, all good things must inevitably come to an end. In the case of Harbor View Elementary, that end quickly approaching.

The school will officially close up shop on the site immediately following the end of the 2011-2012 school year, shortly after which the structure will be leveled, paving way for the new Harbor View Elementary be built on the existing footprint of the school. The planned two-story, $26 million facility to be constructed on the site will have a far larger capacity than the existing school, a fact that will ensure Harbor View Elementary will at least be housed on its current grounds the foreseeable future.

The proposed build-out for the new school includes a myriad of large classrooms and study areas. The facility will still house students in Kindergarten through fifth grade, with the capacity to meet the overall demand of around 600 students.

“It’s exciting, and it will be really nice to get into a new building,” says Harbor View Elementary School Principal Lara Latto, who herself attended the school as a kid. “More importantly, it will help to bring us up to standards… what the Education Secretary says should be in classrooms. Our building is over 60 years old; it’s been through a lot.

“There’s a part of me that will be sad to see the old building go,” Latto says. “Sometimes I sit in the classes and I can remember being in that class room in middle school, but it’ll all good. The teachers are very excited for the new building, and so are the parents. They’ve been waiting patiently for quite some time.”

The construction of the new Harbor View Elementary School serves to culminate a long-term strategic planning process initiated by the CCSD back in 1997, to refurbish and rebuild James Island’s schools.

The district will use the old, renovated Stiles Point Elementary as a swing campus while the new Harbor View Elementary is built, which is estimated to take about two years. Construction on the project will begin in the summer and barring any unforeseen complications, should conclude sometime late in the summer of 2014.

The district says use of Stiles Point as a swing campus lessens the strain the process of vacating the old Harbor View Elementary will have on the both the school’s faculty and staff, and its students. All the same, Latto has mandated that her teachers plan for the huge move accordingly. “We’re trying to be proactive with our planning,” she says. “We’re trying to get some plans together for how traffic patterns will work and how Steve Burger, Principal at Stiles Point, how he and I are going to get together. We’re going to have to plan our events together.”

“Everybody’s always afraid of the unknown,” says Latto. “But we’re planning on ‘business as usual’ no matter what building we’re in. We’re still here to educate the children and do the very best we can, that’s what we’re going to do no matter where we are, we’ve just make that little transition.”

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