AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Thirty million dollars is heading to the area to advance technology and the workforce.
“We have waiting lists for most of our programs out there, so we need a larger space,” Aiken Schools Superintendent King Laurence told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. “In addition to having a larger space, there is an opportunity to provide a progression from K-12 education into the technical college system,” he added.
With the state budget finalized, the funds will come from the federal government’s plutonium settlement with the state. “We immediately started working on trying to get as much of the money committed to transformative investments in the areas of education, economic development, workforce development, and infrastructure within Aiken County,” Sen. Tom Young said.
Contactors will build the new facility on Aiken Tech’s campus. It will be a lease agreement without purchasing the land from the school. All students within the district will be able to use the facilities. “The technical college is in the process of demolishing some old facilities, and it could be that that would be the perfect footprint for us there,” Laurence shared.
Without the settlement funds, the district would have needed another source.”With this 30 million plus penny sales tax money, we’ll be able to do everything that we need to do,” he said. “It will be done with the settlement dollars rather than with taxpayer dollars from residents of Aiken County,” he added.
There are no proposed drawings for how the project will look. Laurence says that will come after conversations with business leaders and the community. State leaders will send the money to the district in September. “If the money came directly to Aiken County, it would go to the county treasurer,” Laurence reveals.
Meanwhile, the school district will keep its old facility. “If this new facility lasts, as long as the current one has, then if I live long enough, I will be well over 110 going on close to 120, before we would be talking about doing another one,” Sen. Young added.