School News

New WGE building will be safer


In about two years, your child could be learning in a brand new, much deserved facility. Walker Gamble Elementary is getting a brand new building, and in a more secure location. One thing that is planned to remain the same, however, is the name. 

The school is named after the two benefactor families, the Walkers and the Gambles, who gave the land where the current school building is located. Since the name is historical and meaningful to the community, the new building is expected to keep it. In addition, the Walkers and Gambles will remain active within the school.

Principal Allen Kirby was born and raised in the Clarendon County community. He attended Walker Gamble as a child. He then became a teacher at Walker Gamble, and he taught there for eight years before becoming the Vice Principal of Johnsonville Middle School. He stayed there for three years, before he got the opportunity to take over as Principal of Walker Gamble. He has been the principal there for seven years now.

When asked about his role in securing the grant, Kirby said 

“The project was spearheaded by the state department. They sent inspectors out to look at multiple schools and to complete a needs assessment. I showed the inspectors around our school, and when the studies came back, we were one of the top schools that needed improvement.”

As of right now, there have been no decisions on where the new building will be located. Superintendent Johnson has been meeting with landowners in an effort to secure the land needed. The land is a separate expense and the cost will not be taken from the $42 million that was granted to construct the new building. 

Because Principal Kirby values transparency and would like people to feel involved in this new chapter, there will be public meetings held at the current Walker Gamble building as information becomes available. 

Another ongoing debate is what to do with the current building. Kirby acknowledges that the building holds sentimental value to many Clarendon County residents who have attended school there, or had children who did. They want to turn the building into something else that will perhaps become just as meaningful someday. The Walker and Gamble families are included in this decision as well, to ensure their family histories are honored.

Though it can be difficult to let go of the past, the new building will have numerous benefits for both the students and their parents. The first will be the location itself. The new school will be built further from the main road. This will provide more privacy and security for the children. It will also improve the car rider line, and therefore, improve traffic in the area. Parents will find it easier to enter and exit the campus, and will worry less about their child being involved in a collision. 

The new building will also have bigger classrooms, and better internet and technology. All of these things will improve the children’s learning experience and their safety and comfort. 

There will be more information on the new Walker Gamble Elementary school building featured in The Manning Times as the process continues and the public meetings are held. 


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