NEWBERRY — As many already know the Newberry County School District has purchased the old Food Lion building on Kendall Road. Once renovated, this new facility will serve as the new home of Adult Education, Parenting and Family Literacy and Facilities Management Warehouse.
“We purchased the building for multiple reasons, one of the primary being we need a new space for our Adult Education program. Our Adult Education Program is housed at the old Gallman facility now. That facility, as far as being used for Adult Education and the associated programs, is about aged out,” said Superintendent Jim Suber. “It’s just not cost effective for us to invest the money into a total renovation of old Gallman, when we can purchase a facility that is much more modern and renovate it for a lot less money.”
The District purchased the building to not exceed $550,000, as authorized by the School Board in September of last year. During the process to find a new building, Suber said they looked at two other properties prior, but he said those did not work out.
“The square footage wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. Some spaces are easier to renovate than others. What’s so interesting about this space, it is wide open (Food Lion portion). It’s a lot more cost effective to renovate something wide open, as opposed to something with a lot of walls,” Suber said.
A major aspect of the purchase of the building is the square footage, in total the building has 33,800 square feet. Suber said they plan on using every square foot, which is why the businesses that were located within the property moved out.
“The associated areas, out parcels if you would, were about 6,400 square feet, the Food Lion building itself was about 27,400 square feet. For us, to put a warehouse in there, and the associated spaces go with it, as far as facilities management, and to put Adult Education and the other programs associated with Adult Education, we will eat up every square foot of that building, including the out parcels,” he said.
Joey L. Haney, assistant superintendent for Operations and Administration, added that this is a good location with high traffic. He also said they wanted to get a building that was centrally located because it will serve all of Newberry County.
The new facility will give Adult Education not only a modern facility, but will also allow the program to expand.
“Some things they’ll get that they really don’t have right now, potentially be a multi-purpose room that will be used by everybody in the building. One day there might be an Adult Education program taking place in there, the next day Facilities Management might have a training session. Same thing with a technology lab, will have a new state of the art technology lab, and it will be used by everyone who has joint use of the space,” Suber said.
The Facilities Management Warehouse moving into the new space will also allow the District to be more cost effective in the long run. Currently, the District has a warehouse with limited office space behind Newberry Elementary School. However, the warehouse is out of room and they have been renting additional warehouse space for the last few years.
“It’s not cost effective to rent a warehouse space when we can purchase and own warehouse space,” Suber said.
Before the old Food Lion can become the new Adult Education building, there will need to be design and development. Once that phase is done, the School Board will need to approve the design. After that, the State Department of Education Office of School Facilities will also need to approve the design.
After the designs are all approved, the District can put the project out for bid.
“Once we get the bid, the renovations of the building may have to be phased. If we don’t’ have enough in capital project budget, we’d have to phase the renovations and that is a possibility,” Suber said.
As of right now, there are no plans for the old Gallman building. Suber said they will have to decide what to do because that building will become surplus property for the District.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.