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Fox Creek plans to expand

Posted: September 23, 2012 - 12:51pm  |  Updated: September 23, 2012 - 6:18pm

Fox Creek High School’s student enrollment has increased by about 100 students since last school year.

During the 2011-12 school year, there were 335 students. As of Friday Sept. 21, the enrollment was 442.

The growth was anticipated, especially since any South Carolina student can now attend the school, said Principal Dr. Timothy Murph.

As of July 1, the charter school switched from the Edgefield County School District to the South Carolina Public Charter School District.

Before, the school could only accept a small number of students from outside the county’s school district. Under the school’s new district, any South Carolina student can attend the school, which meant the school no longer had to turn away students.

“It has been difficult in years past,” said Murph of turning away students from outside the county.

Once the doors were open, the school’s reputation got the students inside, he said.

“It really energized me to see the interest people have in Fox Creek,” he said. “… if you choose to send your child here, it tells me that you believe in what we do here at Fox Creek.”

Murph attributes the increase in enrollment to the school’s academic achievements, such as repeatedly receiving a ranking of “excellent” on the school report card, and its academic offerings such as the Silver Fox Academy and Fox Creek Academic & Technical Academy.

Guidance counselor Ian Bramhall added that the school’s small class sizes, small school environment, and its athletic program, which includes character education, also contributed to the growth in enrollment.

“Overall, we are a school of choice and our continued high performance in every area makes our school a very attractive option,” Bramhall wrote in an e-mail.

Fox Creek also added an additional math teacher and a curriculum specialist to its faculty and staff this school year.

The additional math teacher will allow the school to maintain a student-teacher ratio of 18:1 and adding a curriculum specialist will help the school continue to focus on academic achievement, Murph said.

The school's current facilities can accommodate about another 100 students, but maxing out the capacity in coming years won’t be an issue, he said.

“We’re aggressively working on a project to build the second phase of the school,” he said.

Murph recently met with architects to discuss the second phase of the school’s campus, which is still in the planning stages. Currently, the school is looking to add a basketball gym, art center, band room, a new commons area and about 20 classrooms. The expansion would more than double the square footage of the school.

They would like to start construction around the beginning of March.

“We have an aggressive timeline and hope to have it completed by next August,” he said.

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