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New campus for Greer Middle College Charter integrates sense of community

$10.9 project has tentative target date of August 2015

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, September 5, 2013

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This is the rendering of Greer Middle College Charter High School provided by David Langley of Langley Associates Architects of Greer. Two buildings are for academics, one for administration and the other a gymnasium/cafe.

Jim Fair

This is the rendering of Greer Middle College Charter High School provided by David Langley of Langley Associates Architects of Greer. Two buildings are for academics, one for administration and the other a gymnasium/cafe.



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Melanie Bargar, GMC director of development, said the funding is halfway toward the $10.9 million costs.

Jim Fair

Melanie Bargar, GMC director of development, said the funding is halfway toward the $10.9 million costs.



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Tony Kouskolekas, President of Village of Pelham Hospital, equated a good education as a driver for economic development in a community.

Jim Fair

Tony Kouskolekas, President of Village of Pelham Hospital, equated a good education as a driver for economic development in a community.



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Mark Owens, Wanda Moore and Nancy Welch attended the presentation.

Jim Fair

Mark Owens, Wanda Moore and Nancy Welch attended the presentation. "I believe in this system of education and the portables out there will not last forever,” Welch told community leaders. 



The image of 29 portable buildings around a makeshift courtyard in a field is the visualization David Langley of Langley Associates Architects used as inspiration for his design of  the future Greer Middle College Charter (GMCC) High School.

Langley was in attendance this morning at Village Hospital’s Community Center when GMCC Principal Bill Roach presented to community leaders the design, costs and tentative schedule for the proposed $10.9 million campus to be located across from Greenville Technical College in Greer. Greenville Tech will lease GMCC the land for the facilities.

Pending funding, Roach said he believes the new campus can be ready for occupancy by August 2015.

“It provides a sense of community with faculty and students now sharing intellectual capital. Students can go outside and talk with the faculty,” Langley said.

The rendering shows two academic buildings, another for administration and a gymnasium. A courtyard in the center of the campus provides connectivity and green space.

“All the buildings have a covered reading area and porch,” Langley said. “The gymnasium has doors that can fold back to create a bigger outdoor environment to complement the school’s cafe.”

Roach described the project as an extension of the culture for the 401 students, grades 9-12, and 33 staff that occupy the makeshift site.

“Today is all about getting the community involved,” Roach said. Community leaders, legislators and business partners of the school attended the presentation. “Schools are about relationships and the students in it.”

Roach and his associates were soliciting financial support since charter schools receive 80-85 percent for the cost per student compared to public schools. South Carolina law does not provide charter schools money for buildings.

“We’re halfway there. We can support a $5 million mortgage,” said GMCC director of development Melanie Bargar.

Bargar detailed the costs for a new campus:

• Building shell, $5.5 million

• Building systems, $2.25 million

• Fixtures, technical, $1.75 million

• Existing campus removal, 0.1125 million

GMCC students can attend Greenville Tech to acquire course credit entering college. Roach said two GMCC students graduated with associate degrees and 200 students completed 400 courses with a cumulative 3.92 college grade point average.

Nancy Welch a member of the GMCC board and a proponent of education in the greater Greer area said, “Charter is an asset to Greer. It’s the closest thing to a private school without the private school costs.”

Welch explained students are admitted by application through a lottery process, not handpicked. “I believe in this system of education and the portables out there will not last forever,” Welch said.

Bargar provided a testimonial with her son as an example of a student graduating GMCC and attending Clemson University with 1 ½-years of college credit. “We have to have permanent buildings,” Bargar said. “We want to expand our program and we can’t do it 29 portables.”

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