By Lia Sestric
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) – Originally built for 850 students more than 70 years ago, Knightsville Elementary School has outgrown itself. The school is now up to 27 trailers that are used for classrooms.
"We're at an almost all-time high," Principal Dr. Wally Baird said.
He predicts the school will enroll 1,250 students by the end of September. With a higher student body, Baird said the school has also had to make changes to accommodate.
"It's a lot of teachers, a lot of employees and a lot of boys and girls here," Baird said. "We start lunch early, around 10 and finish up around 12:45."
The growth is a concern for the entire district.
"Not only are you tight for space, but things like art is on a cart," Superintendent Joseph Pye said. "A lot of teachers share classrooms at a high school level. There are no lounges anymore in our district. Teacher workrooms have all become classrooms."
Principal Baird calls the trailers learning cottages. District wide there are 177 trailers used as classrooms.
Carey Hodge is a Knightsville second grade teacher and has made the most of the space she has available.
"It's a neat little space. It's small to fit 24 students and have them actively engaged to moving around quite a bit," she said.
Her unit is one of the 12 new trailers that the school has added this year. The goal with adding the extra extensions is to keep classes still relatively small.
"As we get larger and larger our goal is to get smaller and smaller so the classroom environment is more of a family feel and that everyone is connected to a teacher or administrator," Baird said.
A $179 million referendum will be put on the November ballot that could help alleviate the overcrowding caused by the school's growth. The money would be used to build a total of four new schools and make improvements to all the high schools.
"We tout ourselves as a top-ten school district out of 85 in the state, but funding wise we are in the bottom five," Pye said.