Sumter County Schools Superintendent Dr. Torrance Choates said due to labor shortages caused by the pandemic, the new Sumter County High School will not open to students until September 7, instead of the original start date of August 9.
Teachers are set to arrive on August 30 to prepare for students arrival the day after Labor Day.
Sitting on over 200,000 square feet, the 57-million-dollar Sumter County High School is now behind schedule as it inches closer to completion of the brand-new building.
“We wanted to take away the institutional affect. So, we wanted to keep the students at heart with their best interest at mind, but we wanted them to feel at home. Kind of cozy, yet it has the college feel, just preparing our students for the future,” said Choates.
The school broke ground back in June of 2019 and now it’s just weeks away before roughly 1,300 students will fill the halls.
“Hopefully, it’ll take some of the day-to-day pressure of doing work and that kind of thing, it’ll take some of that off when they have so much to look forward to in this beautiful building,” said Choates.
High schoolers are set to begin the 2021 school year with virtual learning before resuming in-person instruction at the new high-school the day after Labor Day. Meanwhile, teachers will work remotely until the end of August.
As teachers prepare for the big day, Dr. Choates noted they are getting to participate in something special.
“They’re getting ready to walk into something that not many experienced teachers have the chance to do, which is to walk into a brand-new school building. I’ve never had that opportunity and that’s out of a 24-year career. I’ve never had the opportunity to walk into a new building, so that right there builds excitement within itself,” said Choates.
The school features state of the art design, from massive hallways with plenty of natural light, a new theatre, lunchroom, roughly 90 classrooms and a brand-new gym, home of the Sumter County Panthers.
“Please be proud of this building. Take good care of it. Treat it like it’s your home. Take full advantage of the opportunities that this new high school will provide for you,” said Choates.
While the project is behind schedule, Sumter County school officials say the new high school was built with the future in mind with plans to expand as the county continues to grow.
Members of the community are invited to the grand opening ribbon cutting of Sumter County High School set for next Thursday, August 5th.