Hanahan City Council votes against site for new school

  • Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Provided This map highlights three possible sites for a new elementary school in Hanahan.

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It appears a new elementary school in Hanahan will not be built in the Bowen Village area of Tanner Plantation.

The Berkeley County School District had initially picked this site in the planned development, but Hanahan City Council does not approve.

BCSD requested for the property to be rezoned so a school can be built there, but city council voted 7-0 against the rezoning at its regularly scheduled Dec. 10 meeting. The Hanahan Planning Commission also voted 7-0 at its meeting.

Hanahan City Administrator John Cribb said there was a lot of public input on Dec. 10 but no citizens spoke in favor of rezoning.

“The public wants the school district and the city to work together to find a site as fast as we can,” Cribb said. “I think everyone’s together on that, so we’re optimistic.”

The other sites in consideration for a new school are off Williams Lane, near the Charleston Water Systems plant and at the current Hanahan Elementary School site.

On Dec. 3 a public meeting was held in the Hanahan council chambers allowing for public input from citizens, city council and an architect hired by the school district.

“I supported the Yes 4 Schools campaign in part to promise that all Hanahan children would get to go to Hanahan schools,” Hanahan Mayor Minnie Newman-Caldwell said.

Not all children who live within Hanahan city limits are zoned to attend Hanahan schools, while some children from Daniel Island, Cainhoy and the Clements Ferry area attend schools in Hanahan.

“We’re looking at a new generation of people in Hanahan,” Newman-Caldwell said. “We all have to have a responsibility to listen to the needs of our community.

“Our young people are the heart of the community. We want to look for ways for them to live here and play here and work here.”

“I want to make sure we have a school site that works for the future and our city,” Cribb said. “No matter where you put a school it’s going to impact traffic. The best you can hope for is a moderate negative impact on traffic.”

Ben Thompson, an architect hired by BCSD, said a school needs to be located near the population it serves and have access for buses and cars.

“I feel like perfect is the enemy of good,” Ibis Glade resident Ben Lewis said. “There is not a perfect place to build a school. We need to figure out in which flawed location we’re going to build.”

“A lot of poor kids are going to be put in one school,” citizen Robert Jones said. “Attendance lines need to be drawn evenly. We don’t want an old and a new Hanahan. We want Hanahan.”

Johnnie Harkness suggested adding on to the current Hanahan Elementary School. He also suggested building a bridge across the Goose Creek Reservoir to relieve traffic and put Tanner Plantation closer to Trident Technical College.

Williams Lane resident Bessie Crume said she has lived on Williams Lane a long time and so did her ancestors.

“I’m for education and schools,” Crume said. “We don’t want the traffic coming through Williams Lane. It’s just seniors in Williams Lane. We want to keep it a quiet, senior area.”

“Williams Lane has been here a century and a half before anything else went around it,” Greg Geddings said. “It is owned by the descendants of slaves. Opening Williams Lane Will only get you to the gridlock faster.”

Other citizens said they want a new school built as soon as possible so their children won’t have to switch schools in the middle of a school year.

Councilmembers Dan Owens and Kevin Cox said they would prefer to keep all the children in one school.

“This is Hanahan, we’re all together,” Owens said. “We spend time together. It’s a small community for the size. We don’t have all of Hanahan here tonight, or you would hear more of that.”

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