Overcrowding at May River High School causes problems for students, teachers

Overcrowding at May River High School causes problems for students, teachers

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Some parents in Bluffton are concerned after finding out that several classrooms at May River High School are doubling up.

May River High School was built only three years ago. Now, the high school with a capacity of 1,400 students is already at 1,459. And the administration is having a hard time finding somewhere to put all of those students.

Overcrowding is an issue in several Beaufort County schools. But at May River High school they are trying to fit far more than the intended number of students in the school.

And the number is only growing. In five years, the school is estimated to double in size from its opening enrollment of 900 students.

May River High School already projects numbers that double their numbers from the first year they opened.
May River High School already projects numbers that double their numbers from the first year they opened.

The principal of the school, Joseph Bornscheuer, is aware of the changes. "We’ve had a lot of growth in a short time, absolutely.”

And there are clear issues with the building itself. The amount of classrooms the school was built with, 59, doesn’t work with the listed capacity of 1,400 students.

“Typically, 59 classrooms would never have you go over about 11 or 1200 students,” Bornscheuer said.

Students are having to adjust to the change in odd ways. In one case, a former wielding and auto shop classroom is being used as a marketing classroom. Which means students have to go through dangerous areas to get to class.

“It does mean that students that are taking business education classes will actually have to go through shop safety since they will be traversing to get to and from the classroom.”

The principal said that the wielding class teacher knew of the possibility of re-purposing the room in May, and spent the last few months creating a walking zone that allows students to pass through the shop carefully.

But students aren’t the only ones, teachers at the school don’t have their own classroom. Instead, they have to move from room-to-room throughout the day to meet with their students.

Kimberlee Lamont, a spanish and ESOL teacher at the school, says she has to go to four different classrooms throughout the day. " I actually was going to three, but now I will be going to four different classrooms."

She says the resources that the school have aren’t matching up to the number of students enrolled, “the sheer amount of students is tough. “

And teachers are having to adjust as the school grows.

“I’ve taken my planning. And I am really... it’s part of my planning period is here and the rest is at home. I have to do a lot more at home.”

The school is hoping that the bond referendum, which will be voted on in November, will be passed. The school is set to build 22 extra classrooms with the bond money, all to accommodate the projected growth.

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