Committee cuts architects for potential new LDHS to 2

A Laurens School District 55 committee composed of administrators and Board of Trustees member Robbie Bell narrowed a list of architects for a proposed new Laurens District High School down to two at a Thursday morning meeting.

The two architectural firms chosen from 11 initial applications are Jumper-Carter-Sease Architects of West Columbia and SfL+a Architects of Raleigh, N.C.

The committee, which will make its recommendation to the District 55 Board of Trustees for a vote, had already narrowed the field to four semifinalists before choosing the final two. Nine architectural firms made presentations to the committee.

“It was very close,” District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters said of the decision. “These final four companies did a really good job with their presentations.”

Whether or not a new LDHS is built is dependent on the passage of a bond referendum in the school district later this year.

District 55 officials held a series of public meetings on the referendum in February. After input from the public, a referendum tentatively set for May was pushed back to September.

“The topic of building a new school is not a new one,” the District 55 Board of Trustees wrote in a letter to the editor of the Advertiser.

“We are limited to what we can achieve due to lack of space and functional science labs,” the letter continued. “Therefore, the need to build a new high school is crucial to the continued success we can offer our students.”

Jumper-Carter-Sease Architects has in imprint across the state with schools. The firm also designed the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden as well as the Greenwood High School Press Box.

In addition to those venues, Jumper-Carter-Sease designed River Bluff, Pendleton and Airport high schools in addition to the Pickens Career & Technology Center.

SfL+a Architects recently completed a five-school project for Horry County Schools and have designed several high schools in North Carolina, including Watauga High, Northern Guilford High and Overhills High in Spring Lake, N.C.

Bell said some of the proposals included designs for a new high school as well as plans for refurbishing the current LDHS.

“All of them were really good,” Bell said of the proposals. “There are two different types of builders here that we narrowed it down to – the board makes the final decision.

“It was just a process we went through and we narrowed it down in every meeting.”

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