Public charter school may have own home

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clayton Stairs/South Strand News The entrance to Allston Plantation would be one of two accesses to Coastal Montessori Charter School.

A public charter school that has been housed in a wing of Waccamaw Middle School in Pawleys Island for two years may soon have a home of its own.

Coastal Montessori Charter School, which was in negotiations to build on property owned by the University of South Carolina in the Prince George area, could soon build at Allston Plantation.

The Georgetown County Planning Commission approved a request at its July 17 meeting from Dan Stacy as agent for Waterford Plantation Development Co., LLC to amend the Allston Plantation Planned Development.

The amendment will change the conceptual plan for a 6.9-acre parcel of land located at the corner of U.S. Route 17 and Old Plantation Drive so the school can be built there.

Rob Horvath, chair of the school’s board of directors, who was at the meeting, said although there were concerns from neighbors about traffic and signage, he doesn’t see any problems that can’t be solved.

Instead of 10 buildings measuring 5,000 square feet each, the school would be one 49,060-square foot building.

Allston Plantation is an approved mixed use Planned Development.

The parcel for the school is currently approved for Office Commercial uses.

The plan indicates a classroom area of 25,060 square feet, an office/conference area of 7,000 square feet and a gym/kitchen area of 16,000 square feet.

“The biggest concerns have been about traffic and our sign,” Horvath said.

He said the board is planning a meeting with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to work out details of the traffic plan.

“We will meet with them at the site,” Horvath said. “I am sure they will have some recommendations for us.”

There would be two access points to the school, one on Old Plantation Drive and one on Barony Place.

School traffic would be expected to be concentrated at specific times of the day.

Horvath said the school’s signs will be in accordance with the county’s ordinances.

“We want to be good neighbors to Allston Plantation and Hagley residents,” Horvath said. “We won’t put up a big neon sign out there.”

Coastal Montessori Charter School (CMCS) is a unique combination of Montessori curriculum, charter school governance and public school access.

Authorized by the State of South Carolina and the Georgetown County School District, this free public Montessori charter school opened in Aug. 2012, and offers grades one through six for children of Georgetown County.

The long-range goal is to grow CMCS to middle school and eventually high school.

“All in all we are very pleased,” Horvath said of the Planning Commission’s recommendations.

“We are looking forward to the three readings of County Council.”

He said the board’s goal is to have the school ready for students at the start of the 2015-16 school year, but he realizes that goal is “lofty.”

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