Pee Dee school district hosts groundbreaking for new school


FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Southside Middle School held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the beginning of construction for its new location on John Paul Jones Road.

For Florence School District One leaders and current students, it’s a day long overdue.

“When they move out of that school, it will have served them for 60 years, which is 20 years past the normal lifespan of a school,” Barry Townsend, Florence District One School Board chairman, said.

“This is a big deal for me because I know our school has been outdated and it’s falling apart literally, as in in the hallways there are missing ceiling tiles, there are missing floor tiles,” Raymond Taylor, an eight grader at Southside Middle School, said.

The new facility will have more space, enough for up to 1,350 students, and is designed for digital learning. Those are two things Southside Middle Principal Craig Washington said are most important.

“Spaces that are appropriate for science labs, spaces that are appropriate for collaborative learning,” he said. “It’s going to mean that they are going to get the skills that are required for them to be competitive on the job market.”

Washington also said the new building will mean new ways for students to succeed.

“I’m excited about it because it means an opportunity for our students and that’s what it’s about,” he said. “It’s about creating opportunities for our students to excel, for our students to grow.”

The new school is expected to be completed in March of 2020.

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