BLUFFTON, Sc. (WTOC) - Students at River Ridge Academy in Bluffton will have new facilities to return to this fall, but officials with the Board of Education are hoping these arrangements are temporary.
Schools are already preparing for students to return in about a month. The problem is, until now, some Beaufort County Schools didn’t have anywhere to put them.
The Beaufort County Board of Education worked on completing new mobile classrooms on Tuesday. The classrooms, which will be used for students at River Ridge Academy in Bluffton, are additions to ones that were installed last year. Brand new Principal Brian Ryman says they’re very necessary.
“Whenever you have growth like we are experiencing in Bluffton, it’s nice to have space, so the fact that we have additional classrooms will be very beneficial," Principal Ryman said.
The growth that Beaufort County has seen is clear when you look at the numbers. In 2017, 1,186 students were enrolled at River Ridge alone. That number jumped up last year, and this coming year, has a projected 1,303 students planning to join River Ridge Academy’s classrooms. Principal Ryman says he doesn’t want the rooms to be over crowded.
“I just started here, but I do know that as we do get more growth, I’d like to see that the classrooms are a little less crowded.”
Until Tuesday, there were eight mobile classrooms at River Ridge. Now, two more have been added. Operations Officer Robert Otting says that still won’t be enough.
“The need for these classrooms for students are here now. Actually, with this additional classroom, we will still be over 100 percent capacity in this building, so these additions are only to serve not only students that are coming, but the students that are already here," Otting said.
While the county waits on a bond referendum that would fund a new school, these mobiles are a less expensive way to provide more buildings for the kids.
“These cost about a third to half of a normal school, so we’re running about $80-100 a square foot.”
County officials say the bond referendum, which will be voted on in November, hopes to alleviate these issues by building on another wing to River Ridge Academy, but if the school’s growth continues, they may still keep the mobile classrooms.