Colucci’s Jewelers. | 10016 Dorchester rd Summerville SC 29485

Best Jewelry Store in Charleston, SC

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We want like to take a moment to welcome you to Colucci's Jewelers - Charleston's premier jewelry store for more than 60 years. We are so happy that you decided to visit our website! We hope that while you're here, you will begin to get a sense of why so many customers choose Colucci's Jewelers over other jewelry stores in Charleston, SC.
In an industry known for snobby salespeople and overpriced items, Colucci's Jewelers brings warm smiles and affordable prices to jewelry shoppers in the Lowcountry. Unlike other jewelers in Charleston, the Colucci team focuses on providing customers with an unmatched jewelry experience, from the moment they pull into our parking lot to the minute they leave our showroom. We believe our customers deserve special attention, and our goal is to provide them with friendly, personalized service every time they visit.

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The Colucci Difference

As a certified jeweler with more than 50 years in the industry, Stefan Colucci has built his reputation on excellence and execution. With a wealth of knowledge and a passion for precision, Stefan pours his heart into every custom-made piece of jewelry, repair, restoration, and appraisal that he completes at Colucci's Jewelers. With consistent craftsmanship and impressive attention to detail, Stefan's ability to cater to all your jewelry needs will exceed your expectations every time.
While Stefan focuses on creating unforgettable custom jewelry for you or your loved one, his wife Summer specializes in customer service. Kind, patient, and knowledgeable in her own right, Summer will take all the time necessary to answer your questions and guide you through the jewelry selection process. Whether you're stressed out looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring or need to restore a priceless family heirloom, Summer will make sure you receive the attention you deserve.
When you shop at Colucci's Jewelry, understand that we will never try to pressure you into a purchase or provide you with lackluster service if you're "window shopping." We treat each of our customers with the same exceptional care, whether they are repeat clients or new faces.
Colucci's is a name you can trust - there's a reason we were voted Best Jeweler in 2019 by Readers Choice!

Estate Jewelry Charleston, SC

We offer several different jewelry styles and services in Charleston, from breathtaking engagement rings to extensive repairs. Keep reading to learn more about a few of our specialties.

 Jewelry Stores Charleston, SC

Diamond Engagement Rings in Charleston

Proposing to the love of your life is one of the most beautiful, memorable moments that two people will ever share as a couple. An engagement ring symbolizes love and acceptance; it epitomizes trust and commitment. While no two proposals will ever be exactly the same, there is one constant that will always remain true: the diamond engagement ring you choose from Colucci's Jewelers will give you a lifetime of pleasure and contentment.
We understand that choosing the right engagement ring is one of the most important decisions you can make. That is why we pair the finest engagement jewelry in Charleston, SC, with one-on-one showings and helpful advice - to ensure that you discover dazzling rings at an affordable price. With the Colucci team by your side, we take second-guessing out of the equation, so you can focus on popping the question with confidence. After all, a diamond engagement ring is meant to be cherished for a lifetime!

Factors to Consider Before Buying an Engagement Ring

We find that taking the time to give our clients as much information as possible makes their experience easier and more enjoyable. Before you visit our store in person, consider the following factors when choosing an engagement ring:

  • Ring Size: Knowing your fiance's ring size is crucial, especially if you're planning a surprise without her knowing. Borrow one of her rings and bring it to Colucci's Jewelers, and we will measure free of charge. For the perfect fit, we can also resize her ring when the time is right.
  • Jewelry Preference: Sapphire? Ruby? Emerald? Diamond? At Colucci Jewelry, we have a wide range of gemstones to choose from which to choose, as well as settings and metal types. Ask your fiancee's friends or family for tips, or better yet, ask her yourself if you can do so without spoiling the surprise.
  • 4 C's: The four C's represent color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. If you're just starting your search, this system might be foreign to you, but it is a trusted grading system used throughout the world. We recommend you visit Colucci's Jewelers for a quick education on this system, so you can find a quality diamond at a price that fits within your budget.
 Jewelry Repair Charleston, SC

On-Site Jewelry Services in Charleston

 Full Service Jewelry Store Charleston, SC

With regular care and maintenance, your piece of fine jewelry from Colucci's Jewelers will give you a lifetime of enjoyment. Whether your favorite emerald necklace needs cleaning or a small diamond in your engagement ring is loose, we are happy to help. With more than 50 years of experience as Colucci's Jewelers' in-house repair expert, Stefan Colucci will handle your jewelry with care and compassion. Stefan is also highly skilled at creating designer jewelry in Charleston, SC. If you have a grand idea for a custom jewelry project, Stefan will consult with you one-on-one to turn your dream into reality.

In addition to the above services, Colucci Jewelers also offers:

  • Class Rings
  • Cash for Gold
  • Gold Dealer Services
  • Consignment Services
  • Custom Diamond Engagement Rings
  • Luxury Watches
  • Luxury Watch Repair
  • Rhodium Plating
  • Same-Day Jewelry Repair
  • Gold Coins for Sale
  • Restringing

Don't risk sending your jewelry off to another state or country to be repaired by someone you can't see or talk to - as the premier on-site jewelry store in Charleston, we will handle all of your jewelry needs in person, with hard work and a smile.

If you need to get your fine jewelry appraised for insurance purposes, Colucci's Jewelers can help.

It's a great idea to get your jewelry appraised periodically. As the years pass along, the value of your precious metals and gemstones can fluctuate. If your last appraisal was more than two years ago, you could run into problems with your insurance coverage. If your jewelry is insured for less than its replacement value, you could lose a substantial amount of money if it is stolen or lost.

To help prevent situations like this from happening, our on-site jeweler Stefan Colucci will provide you with an up-to-date appraisal report based on your jewelry's current market value. That way, you can update your insurance accordingly.

We also specialize in estate jewelry appraisals, so you know exactly how much your old jewelry is worth if you are thinking of selling.

Our appraisal services include:

  • Diamond Appraisals
  • Insurance Appraisals
  • Court Appraisals
  • Estate Jewelry Appraisals
  • Cash Offer for Appraised Jewelry

Jewelry Appraisal Services in Charleston

 Best Jewelry Store Charleston, SC
 Cash For Jewelry Charleston, SC

Sell Your Jewelry in Charleston

Selling jewelry from years past can be a hard experience. Estate jewelry, in particular, can have sentimental value attached and can be hard to sell. This is because jewelry is often a symbol of achievement or affection, such as your class ring from high school or your grandmother's wedding band. At Colucci's Jewelers, we understand the connection to old jewelry and appreciate the memories and value you have with these antique pieces.

In addition to the personal value, antique and estate jewelry can be quite valuable from a monetary standpoint. Estate jewelry is extremely popular in this day and age. Many Lowcountry locals are selling their vintage pieces to trusted jewelry stores in Charleston, SC, like Colucci's Jewelers.

Many customers choose to sell their jewelry to Colucci's Jewelers because we offer an intimate, honest experience - something that you will certainly not receive if you list your jewelry for sale on an internet marketplace. We will be upfront with you every step of the way to help separate personal value from monetary value, and will present you with a fair offer to consider.

If you are interested in selling your jewelry, we encourage you to visit our showroom to meet our staff and get an accurate appraisal of your jewelry's worth.

We buy a multitude of different jewelry, including:
  • Estate Jewelry
  • Custom Jewelry
  • Antique Jewelry
  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds
  • Male Wedding Rings
  • Female Wedding Rings
  • Engagement Rings
  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • All-Things Rolex

Charleston's Most Trusted Jewelry Store

We are proud and grateful to have served thousands of customers looking for quality jewelry and a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere. We would love the opportunity to speak with you face-to-face so that we can learn what you're looking for and what you love about jewelry. Whether you're looking for a custom diamond engagement ring or need friendly advice about what looks right, we are here help.

Latest News in Charleston, SC

‘Flying blind’: Some COVID-19 monitoring not done in Charleston, other parts of SC

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University o...

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.

At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University of South Carolina. A Clemson University scientist is urging caution as well.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is working to take over wastewater surveillance testing for the virus from a lab at the University of South Carolina, which has been reporting those results to the National Wastewater Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It has been some time, I think, since USC submitted samples to the CDC for reporting out,” Dr. Linda Bell, the state epidemiologist, acknowledged.

A spokesman for USC did not return calls seeking comment.

Wastewater surveillance can pick up trends in virus levels shed in human waste from people who may not have symptoms yet four to six days before it is likely to be picked up by clinical testing, so it can provide an early warning of outbreaks, according to the CDC. It is meant as a complement to other surveillance, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky praised the testing this year for providing an early signal of outbreaks beginning in the Northeast.

Wastewater treatment plants regularly pull samples for other testing, so it is a matter of taking part of that sample and shipping it off for testing. The labs carefully handle and filter the samples to get something that can be subjected to the same diagnostic testing as patients, said Dr. Delphine Dean, director of the Clemson Research and Education in Disease Diagnosis and Intervention (REDDI) Lab. Bell said it is a recent addition to surveillance but it has value.

“The concept, that wastewater surveillance can be a big benefit to early detection of transmission in a community that does not rely on somebody having to to go a healthcare facility to be tested, it does have really significant attributes in that way,” she said.

According to the CDC’s data, Charleston has not had its wastewater checked for COVID-19 since at least April 7. The same goes for Darlington and Lexington counties, while Richland, Horry, Georgetown and some other areas of the state have not been monitored since around mid-May.

In almost every case, the virus levels were rising when last checked. The only current data is coming from monitoring done at Clemson for Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood and Pickens counties. There, “it is kind of steadily increasing week to week,” Dean said. It is not the explosion of cases seen in some previous surges, with the delta and early omicron variants, but it is rising, she said.

That may also be true for the Charleston area, said Sweat, director of the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. In its monitoring of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, cases per day per 100,000 population increased 10 percent this past week, from 31 to 34, Sweat said.

Recent modeling by Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggest that only about 10 percent of actual COVID-19 cases are being picked up by testing due in part to a large amount of home tests. Even using a conservative sixfold multiplier would put the actual cases in the community at 204 per 100,000, or about where cases were during the onslaught of the delta variant last fall, Sweat said.

“We’re in a surge, it’s pretty obvious,” he said. “I think there is a lot of transmission, and it is continuing to go up. Because of vaccination and prior infection, we’re not seeing the same numbers hospitalized and dying” due to better protection against severe disease. That is validated by internal numbers: MUSC closely tracks its own staff who come down with COVID-19 and those numbers are approaching what they were during the delta surge, Sweat said.

Wastewater surveillance would provide a better window into how much virus is actually circulating in the community, he said.

“Having wastewater would be really valuable; there is consensus in the field about that,” Sweat said. When the state stopped widespread testing in favor of home tests, “the value of the case reporting diminished because we were getting vast undercounts. That kind of left us in that flying-blind mode,” he said. Wastewater surveillance for the virus was supposed to help alleviate that, but the area is without it, Sweat said.

“We need it,” he said. “I think it would be valuable to see that.”

It is one reason DHEC is trying to do the testing itself. After meetings over the past week, the DHEC Public Health Laboratory is now working to validate its testing as it prepares to take over the wastewater surveillance, the agency said in a statement to the Post and Courier. That process may continue all summer, DHEC Media Relations Director Ron Aiken said.

But even without it, the state is reporting many other good metrics, such as cases per 100,000 population and hospitalizations, that allow people to know what is happening with COVID-19 in their communities, Bell said.

“We do encourage people to continue to look at the traditional surveillance systems,” Bell said.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in a White House COVID-19 briefing on June 9, also encouraged people to maintain vigilance. “We are not done with the pandemic,” he said. “The virus is still here.”

Clemson was monitoring virus levels in its wastewater on campus and also closely tracking how many people tested positive on campus so it could validate how valuable the wastewater data was in predicting infections, Dean said.

“It allowed us to build pretty good estimates on how the wastewater relates to total case counts,” she said. Its data allows Dean to estimate that 1-1.5 percent of the population is infected in the areas they monitor. It translates into an elevated level of risk, Dean said.

“That means if you are going to be in an indoor setting with a larger group of people, you’re pretty likely to have someone in there who has COVID, so you should take precautions,” she said.

High turnout rates during first year of early voting in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Just six days before the primary election day, Charleston and Berkeley County have some of the highest turnout numbers in the state during the first year of early voting.In both counties, people were flooding in and out casting their votes by the minute. Hanahan Library is one of three polling locations in Berkeley County that’s seeing a steady increase in voters day by day.“Berkeley County is getting good percentage coming out early,” Doreen Thompson, one of the polling managers at H...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Just six days before the primary election day, Charleston and Berkeley County have some of the highest turnout numbers in the state during the first year of early voting.

In both counties, people were flooding in and out casting their votes by the minute. Hanahan Library is one of three polling locations in Berkeley County that’s seeing a steady increase in voters day by day.

“Berkeley County is getting good percentage coming out early,” Doreen Thompson, one of the polling managers at Hanahan Library, said. “I can’t say overall how the percentage is, but for this area that we’re working right now, we’re getting fairly well.”

Records show that around 3 million people were registered to vote in 2020, but only about 22% of those people voted.

Isaac Cramer, the director of the Charleston County Board of Elections, is one of the main people in charge of making this happen.

“With our equipment and our poll managers and our training and our recruitment, we’re expecting a high turnout,” Cramer said. “Reality will probably be about that 20% number, but we are expecting a high turnout if that happens, so voters don’t have a long wait as they head into the polls.”

As of now, Charleston County has the fourth-highest number of early voters in the state. In 2018, only 1,700 people cast their votes in the first 30 days using in-person absentee voting. This year, the numbers have doubled to 3,600 in the first six days using early voting.

“Our intent with every election is to find access for every voter,” Cramer said. “So, Charleston, we’ve always led the state in ballots casts ahead of election day. We were actually the model for this legislation with the off-site early voting locations, but with the tight window of time between legislation passing and early voting starting, we weren’t able to expand to multiple locations across the county. But in November, we will have seven locations for early voting. So, we do anticipate this county to lead the state in early voting as we have had in the past.”

Cramer says that if you have not voted already, please visit scvotes.gov to find your polling location. He says he wants you to be best prepared on June 14.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Editorial: Affordable housing win in Charleston shows value of SC housing credit

Creating affordable housing is challenging enough; doing it as part of a sensitive rehabilitation to a historic building in Charleston is even more difficult. That’s why we’re doubly gratified to see construction work finally begin on the long-planned and longer-hoped-for project to convert the former Henry P. Archer School into 89 apartments for seniors with incomes below 60% of the area’s median income.The Nassau Street landmark has been vacant for years and was in such poor condition that it once was considered fo...

Creating affordable housing is challenging enough; doing it as part of a sensitive rehabilitation to a historic building in Charleston is even more difficult. That’s why we’re doubly gratified to see construction work finally begin on the long-planned and longer-hoped-for project to convert the former Henry P. Archer School into 89 apartments for seniors with incomes below 60% of the area’s median income.

The Nassau Street landmark has been vacant for years and was in such poor condition that it once was considered for demolition, despite its history as a place where civil rights leader Septima Clark once taught. The project not only will save an important part of the East Side’s history but also will give the city much-needed housing. The phrase “win-win” is overused but fits here.

Still, anyone following the Charleston region’s housing situation knows full well that this $42 million project, as significant as it is, will put only a small dent in our overall need for more affordable units. That’s why we remain concerned about the future of South Carolina’s affordable housing tax credit — a relatively new financing tool that was a critical part of the mix that’s making the Archer rehabilitation possible.

The 3-year-old credit also has provided help to many other multi-family projects across the state, and its unexpected popularity caused some state officials to grow concerned about the resulting loss of revenue. When the bill to create the credit passed, it was estimated that the state would lose about $16 million a year by the 10th year of the program, but the state actually lost about $50 million last year.

In response, state officials essentially froze the program until the Legislature responded; it did so by capping the credit at $20 million a year, not as high as some housing advocates had hoped for but still high enough to make it a viable tool in the years to come.

The legislation contained other tweaks, including a stipulation that about 20% of the $20 million go toward projects in rural areas and giving the state’s Joint Bond Review Committee more oversight into how the credit is used.

We urge members of that committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority — which will come up with an annual plan — to remain supportive of the credit, and we encourage the bond committee and the S.C. Housing Finance and Development Authority to keep tabs on the tax credits to ensure they’re supporting projects that promise to make the biggest differences across the state. We also urge legislators to remain open to the idea of raising the cap in future years as market conditions evolve and we learn more about how state tax credits can help.

We understand why lawmakers felt a need to impose the cap this year, but we believe the potential cost of the tax credits is more than justified by the longstanding affordability problem that reaches far beyond the Lowcountry. A 2019 study found that a third of S.C. families struggle to pay their rent or make their mortgage payments. The National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that we have only 44 available affordable housing units for every 100 families who need them and would qualify for them; it estimates the state has a shortage of more than 85,000 units for extremely low-income renters, who are defined as those making 30% or less of the area median income. Low-income renters make 60% or less of the median income, so the need is far greater than 85,000 units.

The housing authority’s own needs assessment found that more than 140,000 renter households experience “severe cost burden,” meaning they spend at least half of their income on rent and utilities.

As we’ve noted before, lawmakers also should consider how the affordable housing enabled by this credit is helping the state’s economy and residents’ quality of life. Trying to cut costs by limiting these credits too much could prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish in the end.

The renovated Archer School is expected to open its doors to new residents in two years, but the bigger lesson is that we need many more such projects in the years to come.

PREVIEW: Piccolo Spoleto finale brings together S.C. acts from three genres

As two weeks of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival come to an end, three South Carolina musical acts will close out the festival with one last tradition: the Piccolo Spoleto Finale.Manny Houston, Sam Burchfield and Southbound 17 will gather in Hampton Park on June 11 to end the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Houston will headline the mainstage, with Burchfield opening the show, and Southbound 17 bringing what it calls its “Ame...

As two weeks of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival come to an end, three South Carolina musical acts will close out the festival with one last tradition: the Piccolo Spoleto Finale.

Manny Houston, Sam Burchfield and Southbound 17 will gather in Hampton Park on June 11 to end the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Houston will headline the mainstage, with Burchfield opening the show, and Southbound 17 bringing what it calls its “Ameri-kinda” sound to the Rose Pavilion.

Inspired by Childish Gambino and Kanye West, Manny Houston is a hip-hop artist and College of Charleston graduate from the Greenville area currently based in Los Angeles, where he has been working on his music under the mentorship of the producer duo Stargate.

Before pursuing hip-hop full time, Houston (who has a degree in classical piano from the College of Charleston) was a musician in Off-Broadway musicals, most recently Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation.

Piccolo Spoleto will spotlight his musical training and range in “The Get Down,” which is a set that includes hits from Prince, Rick James and James Brown.

Reconnecting with nature and living like an outlaw: These are the concepts behind Sam Burchfield’s records. He said he loves being a songwriter and is hoping to bring that love to the Piccolo Spoleto Finale stage.

Burchfield’s record Graveyard Flower came out in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. He said the awful timing ended up being good in a way because the album is about reconnection and addresses lots of problems the world was and is facing, like a disconnect from nature.

He has already released several singles from his upcoming album, Scoundrel, which he said plays with the idea of his alter ego, an outlaw living in the Wild West. He used that lens as the base for his storytelling on the album.

Burchfield said his Piccolo show will “play with the duality of those two records and give it the live twist.”

Southbound 17 describes its sound as East Coast Western. Katie Bailey, the lead singer and mandolin player, described the band as country, bluegrass-adjacent, “Ameri-kinda” music. In other words, it loves to put its own spin on songs like “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac or “Clocks” by Coldplay by replacing the original instruments with banjo and mandolin.

Bailey, Jack Austen and Jacob Simmons started making music together in 2014 and have played all over the region ever since, with Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach being their main stops. Piccolo Spoleto was a natural fit for them. Bailey said Spoleto has always been a part of their lives, and bringing their music to Piccolo Spoleto is an exciting opportunity.

“We’ll probably [play]a lot of originals, our favorite originals that we do, and sprinkle in some covers that inspire us along the way,” Austen said about the upcoming set. “It’s pretty much going to be a sampling of some of our favorite stuff that we do in our longer shows.”

Burchfield and Bailey both said they are excited to be part of an event as big as this festival because it’s been two years since they’ve been able to really gather with fans and play music without a lot of restrictions.

“To be able to do something like this – that’s something to celebrate,” Bailey said.

Riley Utley a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications Program at Syracuse University.

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South Carolina spending hundreds of millions of dollars help schools with aging infrastructure

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Saluda County School District educates future generation of Tigers, schools like Saluda Elementary are hampered by aging infrastructure of the past.For starters, there’s the tight cafeteria that can barely squeeze in five classes at lunchtime, the wires held up by zip ties in the hallways, and the boiler rooms that flood with a good rain.The oldest part of the building went up in 1950, and staff say it is well past its prime.“The infrastructure is to the point now that it&rsqu...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Saluda County School District educates future generation of Tigers, schools like Saluda Elementary are hampered by aging infrastructure of the past.

For starters, there’s the tight cafeteria that can barely squeeze in five classes at lunchtime, the wires held up by zip ties in the hallways, and the boiler rooms that flood with a good rain.

The oldest part of the building went up in 1950, and staff say it is well past its prime.

“The infrastructure is to the point now that it’s almost impossible to upgrade our facilities to be cost-effective right now,” Saluda Superintendent Dr. Harvey Livingston said.

But in Saluda County, the tax base isn’t there to afford major renovations and construction, a problem that plagues school districts in South Carolina’s poorer, rural areas.

“A millage tax in some of our poorest counties only brings in $20,000, and in our richest counties, it brings in $2 million,” South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “So you can tell how difficult it is to build a school.”

Now the state Department of Education is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help these schools out.

The department worked with the state’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to rank every school district based on need, using their per capita incomes, index of tax-paying ability of the school district, and index of tax-paying ability of the county.

It found those with the most need, in order, were Allendale, Bamberg 2, Dillon 3 (Latta), Bamberg 1, Lee, Barnwell 19 (Blackville-Hilda), Barnwell 29 (Williston-Elko), Saluda, Dillon 4, and Hampton. Beginning July 1, the two Bamberg districts will be consolidated, as will the two Barnwell districts.

Spearman’s staff looked at those 10 districts first, then expanded it to the 25 neediest, and consulted vendors to assess school facilities to determine how the state will distribute money.

“We will go right up the list in those and looking at our top-priority need. Now this is not taking care of everything in those districts, but we are trying to help on their No. 1 priority need in facilities,” Spearman said, adding the cost to make infrastructure fixes in every South Carolina school is “well over $1 billion, probably closer to $2 billion.”

So far, more than $15 million is heading to Dillon 3 and 4, and on Thursday, the department announced $38 million will go to Saluda schools.

“$38 million is going to go a tremendous way to improve our facilities in Saluda County Schools. We’re a poor, rural district, do not have a very strong tax base, so every dime we can get from the state is going to be huge for us,” Livingston said following the announcement at Saluda Elementary, where he was joined Spearman, district staff, school board members, and members of the Saluda County delegation in the General Assembly.

The Department of Education has received $100 million from the General Assembly in the current state budget for these projects, and it is allocating $40 million of its remaining pandemic relief money from the federal government toward them as well.

While lawmakers are still finalizing the next budget, Spearman said they anticipate receiving at least another $100 million next year, an appropriation that could be as much as $150 million.

“It has been 70 years since we’ve done anything of this significance,” Spearman said.

In Saluda County, their plan includes tearing down the elementary school and combining it with the nearby primary school into a new K-5 school with a new building. With their $38 million, leaders also have their sights set on building a new wing at Hollywood Elementary School and constructing a career and technology wing at Saluda Middle School and Saluda High School.

To receive this money from the state, districts have to get on board with potential consolidations the Department of Education calls for and put some of their own money in as well. Those dollars could come from a bond referendum on the ballot, money districts have obtained in federal pandemic relief, or elsewhere.

Districts also must select a building design from among the prototype plans narrowed down by the Department of Education, which Spearman said will keep them from having to spend additional money on architectural plans.

Livingston said it’ll be worth it for the county’s students and its taxpayers.

“Our students deserve the same opportunities and same buildings that students across the state have, and this $38 million will just make a world of difference for our students for generations to come,” he said.

Spearman, who is not running for re-election this year as state superintendent, believes these appropriations from the General Assembly should be recurring and has proposed the state establish an “infrastructure bank” from which districts could borrow money for school infrastructure projects.

“Some could pay it back; some may not be able to pay it back,” she said. “But it would be a revolving fund that’s not just for the poorest districts in the state because the fast-growing districts have a tremendous burden too.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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