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Agreement to bring new K-8 school to the Nexton area

Published Thursday, October 27, 2022

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Berkeley County Board of Education, officials announced an agreement with Brookfield Properties that will bring a new K-8 school to the Nexton area in Berkeley County. The agreement to acquire property includes the land donation for the K-8 school, approximately 35 acres, and a commitment by the developer to pay voluntary impact fees of $1850 per unit. The new K-8 school is slated to open in the fall of 2025. 

“We are very excited to announce this agreement with Brookfield Properties which will result in building a much needed school in the Nexton area,” said Berkeley County School District Superintendent Deon Jackson. “This agreement is important because, in addition to the land donation for the school, the District will also receive funding per unit to support continued growth in our county. This agreement is a win for the students and taxpayers of Berkeley County.”

BCSD continues to experience exponential growth, welcoming nearly 1000 new students each school year. The majority of the growth is dominated by large residential developments in the 17A and Hwy 52 corridors, to include the Nexton Community Development in Summerville. Neighboring Cane Bay Elementary and Cane Bay Middle currently operate under an attendance cap and manage waitlists as both schools’ utilization rates are over 100 percent. 

Nexton Elementary, a K-5 school that opened in 2015 with a design capacity of 945 students, currently houses 1046 students. While utilization at Nexton is expected to drop to 85 percent when the new Carolyn Lewis School opens in the Carnes area in the fall of 2023, without other interventions, Nexton Elementary would be back at nearly 100 percent utilization by 2025.

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“Not only will Nexton’s new K-8 school provide a high-quality facility for students, but it will allow parents the opportunity and convenience of a more proximal option,” said Brent Gibadlo, Senior Vice President, Development, at Nexton. “This land donation further solidifies our partnership with the Berkeley County School District and illustrates Nexton’s commitment to education and smart growth.”

The plan to build a K-8 school, as opposed to a traditional elementary or middle school, is based largely on the ability to expeditiously and efficiently add capacity at both the elementary and middle school levels. Additionally, a K-8 model provides the District with more flexibility for conversion into a stand-alone elementary or middle school, if needed in the future as growth in the area is expected to continue. 

“It is important that we continue to cultivate positive relationships with developers and builders to ensure that construction, expansion, and updates of schools remain at the forefront of all planning," Jackson said. “When growth helps pay for growth, it will no longer be perceived as an unwelcome challenge, but rather as an opportunity to improve the quality of life for our students and their families.”

DOCUMENT: Managing growth and funding capital projects