Welcome to the Cherokee County School District’s Fact vs. Fiction webpage. In these times of “fake news” circulated on social media and “unofficial” social media groups, this webpage is a place where you can find accurate information in a timely manner. This is an expansion of CCSD’s long-standing commitment to transparency and accountability and a part of our nationally recognized Open CCSD transparency project and webpage. If you have a question for us to consider, you can email it to email@example.com.
FAQ – New Replacement Cherokee High School
The Cherokee County School District is building a new replacement Cherokee High School.
Why do we need a new replacement Cherokee HS?
The core buildings on the Cherokee HS campus opened in 1956, with numerous additions and renovations since including $16 Million in investments since 2002. The school, which currently serves 2,850 students, has seen its enrollment jump by 25% during the past eight years. Expansions, most notably the absorption of the neighboring Canton Elementary School campus now known as Cherokee North, gave the campus breathing room with school capacity now at 83%. While capacity no longer is considered overcrowded, there are lingering issues due to the age of many buildings on campus ranging from narrow hallways and small bathrooms to more costly regular maintenance work. Further campus expansion is not possible due to the current usage of surrounding property including, most notably, the City of Canton’s wastewater treatment plant that is undergoing significant expansion.
When will it open for classes?
The school board in October 2022 voted to hire NJ Wilbanks Contractor Inc., at a cost of $23 million, to complete the site development work for the project. The construction contract will be advertised beginning in January 2023 for proposals from contractors, with the School Board expected to select a company at its April 2023 meeting. Construction then will begin and, weather permitting, the campus will open in August 2026. The project will take that long due to the high square footage of classrooms including specialized classrooms and the school’s athletic complex, as well as the subsequent work to equip and furnish the classrooms and other facilities. All grades, 9-12, will move to the new campus at the same time when it opens.
How much will it cost and where is the money coming from?
The voters of Cherokee County in November 2021, with a 75% approval rate, renewed CCSD’s Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), with the Cherokee HS project at the top of the to-do list funded through those collections and associated bond borrowing. High schools are the most expensive school construction project due to their size and the specialized construction needed for classrooms such as science and career labs, arts classrooms and auditoriums and athletic complexes. With current higher than usual construction costs, the project is estimated to cost more than $100 Million. The actual cost will not be known until the School Board approves the contract for construction.
Where will the school be built?
The site is in Canton on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. between Bluffs Parkway and Reservoir Drive. It is behind the Riverstone Plaza shopping district and adjacent to the current campus of Teasley Middle School. There are signs at the intersections indicating it is the future site of the new replacement Cherokee High School. The school will be a multi-story campus style facility with an adjacent athletic complex.
Where will the main entrance be?
There will be multiple entrances to the campus. The main entrance will be on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A secondary entrance will be from the access road used for the Teasley MS entrance (which recently gained a new longer turn lane and a traffic signal from the City of Canton). School buses will enter the campus from Reservoir Drive to the Hickory Log Drive entrance. More details, including how student drivers will access their parking, how parents will pick up car riders, etc., will be shared with parents closer to the school’s opening.
What about the cemetery in that area?
The historic Hickory Log Cemetery will not be affected by this construction project just as it was not affected by construction of neighboring Teasley MS. Additionally, contractors have been advised to be on the lookout for any historic artifacts, such as Native American artifacts that have been found at other area construction sites. If any artifacts are discovered, CCSD will give them to appropriate organizations for preservation.
What will happen to the current Cherokee High School campus?
The current campus includes both the main Cherokee HS buildings and the Cherokee North annex, which previously served as Canton ES. Although the School Board has not taken any formal action, there has been discussion about returning the Canton ES building to usage as an elementary school and using the main Cherokee HS buildings as a new home for the Cherokee College & Career Academy, which is currently housed as part of the ACTIVE Academies campus. Should the School Board decide to reopen the former Canton ES building as an elementary school, they would begin the attendance boundary line drawing process, which includes public hearings, to determine what neighborhoods and areas the school would serve. Currently, the former Canton ES attendance area is split between Knox ES STEM Academy and R.M. Moore ES STEM Academy.