New Charter School Building

Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5’s High School for Health Professions is scheduled to be open for the 2017-18 school year.

LARRY HARDY, T&D

An Orangeburg charter school is scheduled to open for business this August.

The 17,000-square-foot High School for Health Professions is scheduled to receive its final inspection on July 24, Piedmont Company Project Developer Andrew Silver said.

"There is very little that needs to be done," he said. Inspections and property checks are being done to ensure the building is fully prepared for the opening.

The new school cost a little over $5 million to build. The contractors were David E. Looper and Company and O'Cain Construction.

The school sits on 34 acres on St. Matthews Road. It has 22 classrooms, four office spaces, a library and a cafeteria.

About 400 students will attend the newly constructed facility.

The school was tentatively scheduled to open Dec. 1, 2016, but construction was delayed by the October 2015 floods.

The charter school is currently operating out of the former Nix Elementary School building on Stilton Road. It has been at the location for the past three years.

The school opened with just one hallway, seven classrooms and 73 children at the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 Technology Center. It now has five hallways and 21 classrooms.

The school is near capacity and often has waiting lists for grades 9-11.

The new facility will provide the school with space for a science lab and will be closer to the Regional Medical Center, Family Health Centers and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. All are school partners.

Charter schools are independent public schools. They receive a portion of the state funding that would otherwise go to local districts for their students.

The High School for Health Professions is sponsored by District 5 and operates under its own seven-member board. The school district provides it with negotiated services, but operating funds do not directly come from the district.

In addition to OCtech and Claflin, the charter school has partnerships with South Carolina State University, the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston Southern University, College of Charleston and Cornell University.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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