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Schools: Charter board offers assurances to Prince George

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The board of Coastal Montessori Charter School says it will put its plans for a new facility in writing to allay fears of prospective neighbors that the school will have an outsize impact on the Prince George property. And that includes offering those neighbors control over nearly 100 acres that will be preserved for wildlife.

The charter school wants to buy 109 acres on the west side of Highway 17 at Prince George from the University of South Carolina Development Foundation. The Prince George Community Association has said it will go to court to block any efforts to develop portions of the 1,934 acre tract that were supposed to be set aside for conservation.

The letter to the community association from the charter board last week is the first contact between the groups in over a month. “We’re offering concessions,” said Scott Steffen, vice chairman of the charter board. “This addresses all their concerns.”

Charter schools receive public funds but have their own governing boards and are exempt from some state regulations.

Steffen said the school will agree to limit its footprint to a 25,000-square-foot building on 10 acres that are free of environmental constraints. It will also agree not to include a high school or other facilities such as a stadium at its proposed campus.

It will also amend its charter to reflect the level of environmental stewardship the board envisions, Steffen said.

The charter board is now awaiting a reply from the association.

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