Education

Published on April 11th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Chapin High School holds ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrates new ‘space and place’ to showcase student learning

Chapin High School. Photo courtesy of Stevens & Wilkinson of South Carolina, Inc. 

CHAPIN – It was a time for celebration at Chapin High School on April 10 as staff, students, school leaders and community members participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, commemorating upgrades that nearly double the size of the Lexington-Richland District Five high school.

New construction and renovations at the school have included a new gymnasium, upgrades to athletic facilities and additional instructional space for students and staff.  The new facilities and upgrades at Chapin High School are part of construction projects at several District Five schools, made possible through a 2008 bond referendum. The April 10 ceremony, followed by student-led tours of the facility, was open to the public.

“I have in my head a number, and that number is 1,213…the vision started at a groundbreaking on this hill 1,213 days ago,” Chapin High School Principal Dr. Akil Ross told the group of more than 100 people gathered behind the school for the ceremony. “The reality is it took many days and many people to bring that vision to fruition, and that’s what we are celebrating today.”

A legal challenge delayed construction at the school for more than two years. School officials say the nearly 320,000-square feet school now has the space, technology and environment to truly showcase activities and student learning.

“This was the dream of many people; and it took the support of this community, the Irmo community and the Dutch Fork (community) to support the bond referendum in 2008…without that support this would not be possible,” said District Five Board Chairman Beth Hutchison.

District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner added, “It is such a thrill that we are at this point today…I believe we have here, at Chapin High,…not only a wonderful vision for the future, but we’ve also honored the wonderful past that has been here through the many years of this school’s existence…We thank each of you for making this wonderful dream a reality.”

Chapin High School received an “A” rating under the latest federal accountability system and a Palmetto Gold award for academic achievement. It also received an absolute rating of 4.6, which is one of the highest ratings in the state for open enrollment schools. Over 85 percent of seniors took the SAT last school year, and Chapin High yielded a composite score of 1550. The school has two state championships this school year including one for its marching band and one for its cheerleading team, and a student and coach were selected for the 2014 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. On March 24, the school was named a Palmetto’s Finest Schools Award winner.

“The expansion does more than provide room… (It’s) making sure students can do and show what they know. You need space for that,” Ross said. “So whether it’s engineering or architecture, health sciences…having a place and a space where you can really cut away from the desk to actually take your education and your learning to the next level; that’s one of the biggest benefits of this renovation.”

For students like Shayla Flores the long-time construction project has further unified the school.

“I remember having all of my classes in portables…and now it’s this beautiful, amazing school. I love it so much,” said Flores, Chapin High student body president. “The new school as translated into a new spirit here at Chapin that you’ve never seen before because we went through all of that transition together…It has made us closer and more unified as a school because we’ve been through this process together.”

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