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Brewington Academy will stay at Mayewood Middle in Sumter another year

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 6/12/19

Sumter School District's alternative program, Brewington Academy, will remain at the former Mayewood Middle School for at least another year.

After Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm, who is finishing her second and final year at the end of the …

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Brewington Academy will stay at Mayewood Middle in Sumter another year

Posted

Sumter School District's alternative program, Brewington Academy, will remain at the former Mayewood Middle School for at least another year.

After Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm, who is finishing her second and final year at the end of the month, noted it will likely be a "relatively time-consuming process" to move the school because of project bid solicitation and other factors, Sumter School District's Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday night to stay as is for the 2019-20 school year.

Brewington operated this year on the East Brewington Road campus even though Mayewood Middle School closed in 2018. Those students moved to what is now called R.E. Davis K-8 College Preparatory Academy less than two miles away.

Hamm had said earlier that she hoped to present a recommendation for a relocation site to the board at Monday's meeting, but that didn't happen.

She said she did discuss with board members in executive session behind closed doors some relocation site options, but a decision isn't ready to be made.

The district has recently engaged in working with an architect to look at potential sites. Next up will be professional drawings on remaking an existing space. Then, those drawings will likely need to be approved by the state Office of School Facilities because changes to existing school facilities will likely be necessary, she said.

"Any time that you want to change a building, you must go through that office in Columbia," Hamm said. "The process looks at the feasibility of bringing the building completely up to building code and them approving the plans."

After getting the office's approval or feedback, the district must go through a procurement process for project bids.

"It just takes time," Hamm said. "With the board's vote last night, the trustees publicly said everyone will remain at Brewington for next school year. People have been really antsy about what is going to happen with that, so we wanted to make it clear that this is going to be a relatively time-consuming process.

"We're definitely making progress, narrowing the field and have a good sense of direction about how to proceed, but we're just not ready to pull the trigger on any one particular site at this point."

Brewington's operation on the Mayewood campus became a matter of contention this past year. After a five-board member changeover in the November 2018 general election, many new trustees voted earlier this year in favor of reopening Mayewood next year. The board had voted to close Mayewood and F.J. DeLaine Elementary School that April over budgetary limitations and low and declining enrollment. They cited the alternative program's operation still on the campus as a factor in reopening the middle school entirely. It took virtually the whole spring and a failed appeal by the trustees to the state Board of Education to resolve the issue and keep the former Mayewood Middle School students at R.E. Davis for next year.