CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The Charleston County School District spent nearly $50 million on facility maintenance and improvements in 2022.
The annual report details all repairs, renovations and replacements from 575 projects in 83 school buildings this year. These projects include new playgrounds, replacement of safety equipment, furniture upgrades and new technology in libraries and classrooms. Some also went into athletic equipment and art.
Chief Operating Officer for the Charleston County School District, Jeff Borowy says many people work full-time to get the budget and work done.
“It’s quite a detailed process and none of the programs are exactly the same, you know, the programs range from buying musical instruments for classrooms to changing toilets. I mean, it’s just a broad range of programs, but each of the program managers is responsible for developing their own budget, prioritizing projects for approval and then executing the work,” says Borowy.
Overall, about 34% or 196 of the 575 projects occurred in the North Charleston district. The next highest recipient was Mount Pleasant receiving 90 projects in total. At the presentation, Borowy detailed the projects.
Borowy says there are several factors that determine where the money goes. One is the life cycle of devices such as cameras or buses. Another is the condition of the facilities.
“Most of their work is governed by the condition of the building, the relevant building system is in it, so we measure the status of our schools by where the roof is, the age, the bathrooms, the floors, the windows, all of these, every year. , is valued by asset managers, we have one person who is designated as the champion of each of those building systems for all of our schools,” says Borowy.
One of the highest investments was in facilities management, meaning things like roof repairs, design projects, fence work, flooring and painting.
“You basically manage the equivalent of 5,000 homes on school district property. So if you can imagine the money you need to keep 5,000 houses to put in the middle of every back, roof, floor, bathrooms, I mean, so that’s a lot of people because we’re spread out over 100 miles. A lot of people don’t realize how many buildings we have,” says Borowy.
Officials say it’s all part of the behind-the-scenes work it takes to run the district and continue education every day.
“I think the program was not as well funded as it could have been five, six, seven years ago. Fortunately, we worked with a Board of Trustees at the time that saw the need to ensure that we stayed on par to give students the right kind of equipment and facilities, both from a safety perspective, but also from a modernization and creation point of view they feel like they were in a quality place. And so our Board of Trustees approved increases over the years,” says Borowy.
Borowy says with recent inflation causing prices to rise in many areas, there is always more to do and is hoping for even more funding to continue maintaining and improving the schools next year.
A breakdown of funding allocation for different areas:
- $13 million for facilities and management
- $1.35 million for playgrounds
- $2.25 million for security and emergency management
- $9 million for IT
- $1.2 million for media modernization
- $1.6 million in furniture, fixtures and fittings
- $200,000 for fine arts
- $250,000 for athletics
- $3.5 million for career and technology education to highlight and replace the culinary arts lab at West Ashley and Military Magnet high schools
- $250,000 planning and real estate
- $965,000 115 shipping
- $108,000 for nursing
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