Surrounded by family and friends, three new members of the Aiken County School Board were sworn in Dec. 17 during the board's regular meeting.
Aiken County Public Schools interim Superintendent King Laurence swore in Patrice Rhinehart-Jackson, who will represent District 7; Dr. John Bradley, who will represent District 8; and Cam Nuessle, who will represent District 9.
The three new members, who all represent Area 1 in Aiken, were elected Dec. 10 in a special election.
During regular business, the board heard updates on ongoing construction projects.
A ribbon-cutting for the renovated Jame Taylor Gymnasium at Aiken High School was held Dec. 18.
The final inspection for the new Ridge Spring-Monetta High School will be Dec. 27, and students are expected to move into the new building in January, Dr. Shawn Foster, the district's chief officer of Operations and Student Services. Current students will be the first in the high school's history to have lockers, Foster said.
Work continues on the new gymnasium and fine arts wing at North Augusta High School and the new classroom building and auxiliary gymnasium at Midland Valley High School, Foster said.
“Those projects are coming along well,” he said.
The board also approved architects from LS3P to finalize bidding on the new Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary School. The new school will be built behind and east of the new Ridge Spring-Monetta High School.
The board approved the school district to research a short-term, therapeutic placement program to address behavior concerns in K-5 students. Laurence said school district representatives will bring a more detailed presentation about the program to the Board in the next couple of months.
During special orders of business, the board recognized Millbrook Elementary for being named a National Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, Distinguished School. Millbrook is one of two schools in the state to receive the recognition.
The board also recognized April Windsor, who teaches at Aiken Elementary, as the elementary school winner, and Heather Loy, who teaches at Wagener-Salley High School, as the secondary school winner of the distinguished teacher of the year from the Aiken Council of the International Reading Association.
During public participation, three Gloverville residents who reside beside Gloverville Elementary asked the board to consider relocating solar panels that are being installed at the school. The said the solar panels have reduced their property values, are an “eyesore” and have taken playground space and two ball fields away from students and the community.