Letter To The Editor: View from the Beach?

Dear Editor,

The view from the beach for Sullivans Island Elementary School.

Misrepresentations abound about Sullivan’s Island Elementary School! Take a look at this rendering of the “view from the beach,” pulled from one of CCSD’s own documents. As is obvious from the rendering, much of the proposed school is clearly visible from the beach. Sullivan’s Island residents have been assured over and over by Town Council that only a very small portion of the proposed school would be visible from the beach. That is simply not the case. So why continue to peddle that idea?

Apparently Town Council understands that most Sullivan’s Island residents would have a problem with a structure this visible from the beach. Apparently Town Council understands that most SI residents would not want to sacrifice views from one of the most pristine beaches in South Carolina. Why else continue the charade that this 74,000 square foot building (which presents as a 110,000 square foot building when the raised area is included) will be hidden behind two batteries? Would the Yorktown be hidden if it were on the same site? Hardly! The building as proposed is simply too tall, too long, and too large for the beautiful beachfront. It would obliterate the very essence of what Sullivan’s Island is. And the building is much bigger than it needs to be, even to accommodate 500 students.

Compare the size of the proposed school building to Orange Grove Charter Elementary (http://teacherweb.com/SC/OrangeGroveElementaryCharterSchool/Homepage/apt7.aspx), a 750-student, award-winning school in West Ashley. A proportionately sized school for 500 students would come in at 57,000 square feet– a full 17,000 square feet less than what is proposed for the Sullivan’s Island beach front! At $351 per square foot, that would save Charleston County taxpayers $6 million just in construction costs! And check out Mount Pleasant Academy, which will accommodate 500 students and is 9,000 square feet smaller than the school proposed for SI. A school on SI the size of Mount Pleasant Academy would save taxpayers over $3 million in construction costs–and still accommodate 500 students!

Why is CCSD so insistent on spending more taxpayer dollars than necessary on an excessively large school building on Sullivan’s Island? That is simply indefensible.

Barbara Spell

Sullivan’s Island

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