School briefs for November 30th-December 6th

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Polaris Tech developer finalizes land purchase

This is an architect’s rendering of the entry to Polaris Tech Charter School.
This is an architect’s rendering of the entry to Polaris Tech Charter School.

Polaris Tech Charter School’s facility developer, True North Companies LLC, has finalized the purchase of a 5.5-acre property where the new state charter school will be built.

With the purchase complete, permits are being secured to begin demolition of the former building on the site. Once demolition is done and the site is prepped, construction of the approximate 28,000-square-foot building will begin. Completion is expected next summer in time for Polaris Tech’s mid-August opening.

Student applications will be available online in mid-December. Polaris Tech will enroll up to 250 students in grades 6-10 for the coming school year. It will then add 11th grade in 2019 and 12th grade in 2020.

“We are happy that the property purchase is done and Polaris Tech is one step closer to rising up to help the young people of Jasper County and the Lowcountry,” said retired Air Force Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, a Jasper native and one of the founders of Polaris Tech.

True North Companies, based in Roswell, Ga., is familiar with South Carolina’s regulations and permitting requirements for K-12 schools as they are building charter schools across South Carolina.

Walt Gill, president of True North, said the property closing opens the door for more visible improvements to the property.  

“Step by step, we are going to help Polaris Tech build a charter school that is shaped by what will happen inside the walls to boost student achievement,” he said.

Even as the developer closed on the property, Polaris Tech organizers are seeking an executive director to lead the school and prepare for the August opening. Applications for the job are being accepted and details are available at www.polaristech.org.

The executive director will work closely with the board on matters such as hiring staff, finalizing curriculum, reviewing documents such as student and employee handbooks, and adding input to the school facility construction.

William Singleton, former superintendent of Jasper County Schools and a founding member of Polaris Tech, said “I am amazed each week at how much progress this school is making. The community and especially the young people of Jasper County are going to find an exciting new place to learn and prepare for their future.”

The Polaris Tech academic emphasis will be on six career areas: aerospace, health science, information technology, logistics, advanced manufacturing and business management. Applications start in mid-December and will close March 31, 2018.

Visit www.polaristech.org.

Board member to hold town hall

Beaufort County Board of Education member John Dowling has scheduled a town hall meeting to hear from constituents.

Dowling, who represents portions of Okatie as well as Sun City Hilton Head, will meet with interested constituents at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Mill Creek Club House, located at 140 Colvin Drive in Bluffton.

Any issue relating to Beaufort County’s public schools will be open for discussion, including the district’s plans to accommodate growing student enrollment in the Bluffton area.

New faces to join Bridges Prep board 

Newcomers Tom Angelo, David Gault and Kelly McCombs joined incumbents James Corbin and Peggy Feuerbeacher in winning election to the Bridges Preparatory School board of directors after a public vote count Nov. 16.

Angelo works with GCA and is the maintenance grounds manager for the Beaufort County School District.

Gault, a newcomer to the Beaufort area, is an attorney specializing in compliance. He is also a trained and certified mediator. 

McCombs is an instructor and student adviser in the Department of Hospitality Management at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Corbin works with the information technology department at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and previously provided IT support at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. 

Feuerbacher is a retired school teacher with a master’s degree in education and is national board certified. 

“We had an amazing slate of highly-qualified candidates,” board Chair Dee Matthews said. “It was great that no matter who was elected, we knew we’d have strong leadership, but it also means some well-qualified people didn’t get elected. Thank you to all the candidates for stepping forward and offering to make Bridges Prep even better.”

The newly-elected and re-elected board members join incumbents Dee Matthews, Marty Miley and Brooke Pacheco. They’ll be sworn in Dec. 14.

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. Since then, enrollment has grown steadily with almost 700 students enrolled in K-10 this year. 

School leaders are preparing to build a new school campus in Port Royal off Robert Smalls Parkway.

To learn more about Bridges Preparatory School, visit www.bridgesprep.org or call 843-982-7737.

Students asked to name sheriff’s bloodhound

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Community Resource Officers and K-9 handlers have been escorting their newest edition to the Bloodhound Tracking Team through all of Beaufort County’s elementary schools —public and private — to engage the students and enlist their help in naming her. 

She is a 6-month-old bloodhound acquired from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and her duties will be to track missing persons and fugitives. 

The students have been provided with six names to choose from: Sandy, May, Tabby, Starr, Nosie and Josie. The children will be able to individually cast a vote for their favorite name for the new bloodhound. School administrators have agreed to submit the votes from their respective elementary schools to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, where the votes will be tallied. Results are expected to be complete by Dec. 8.

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