Monday, August 07, 2006

Disillusioned Again: Dorchester 2 No Better than CCSD in Planning


"Fort Dorchester Elementary grapples with massive growth: School has doubled in size, to 1,500 in span of 4 years," by Mindy B. Hagen, front page of The Post and Courier, Monday, August 7, 2006

It turns out that CCSD isn't the only school district that needs to return for a brush-up in Planning 101.

Rows of "trailers" stretch neatly away into the distance, just like a prison, on Monday's front page. There are 28. Twenty-eight classrooms. Classrooms that stand alone, have virtually no windows (I hope none of the students or teachers suffers from claustrophobia), and separate all third- and fourth-graders from the main school building. Even if the students had windows, they would look upon the walls of another of these small prisons. Some are clearly far enough away to be in Outer Slobbovia, so lack of contact with the outside world is probably just as well. Imagine YOUR third-grader trekking from the farthest "learning cottage" (don't you love the jargon?) to the school's library (oops, sorry, I mean media center) in the rain, heat, or cold.

Perhaps this scene could be excused if the school itself (Fort Dorchester Elementary) was OLD. According to the reporter, it is: "the school has expanded by staggering proportions since those early days in a different era [italics mine]--the time before rapid growth found its way to Dorchester Road's subdivisions."

The different era? We must be speaking of the 1960s? the 1970s? the 1980s? Could it be the 1990s?

Would you believe that this dangerously overcrowed school, twice the size recommended for best dealing with students this age, WAS COMPLETED IN 2002?

Any of us can understand the difficult process that a school district must endure to finance and produce a new school. That said, apparently no one could foresee in 2000-01 that in 2006 a school TWICE the size of this one would be needed, that it was necessary either to increase the size of this one or to build two schools.

Perhaps they consulted the same people who built Wando High School, completed in 2004 and now adding three "learning cottages." Everyone could see that Mt. Pleasant wasn't growing very rapidly, right? Ditto Dorchester Road.

Did the reporter question the district's planning "issues"? We'll never know.



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