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Polaris Tech selects developer to build the new state charter school in Ridgeland location!

Polaris Tech Charter School, a new college- and career-focused middle and high school in Jasper County, will be located in a Ridgeland facility built by True North Companies of Roswell, Georgia.

Polaris Tech is a free public school that will focus on preparing young people for successful work and being fully prepared to succeed in college. The Polaris academic emphasis will be on six career areas: Aerospace, health science, information technology, logistics, advanced manufacturing, and business management. 

The Polaris Tech Committee selected True North after seeking proposals from developers experienced with building charter schools. True North’s leadership team is familiar with South Carolina’s regulations and permitting requirements for K-12 schools as they are building charter schools in Winnsboro and Salters, SC. 

The Polaris Tech Committee unanimously approved the True North Companies agreement Tuesday morning. 

“We are thrilled to be teaming with True North Companies to build our facility in Ridgeland, and they’ve really hit the ground running,” said Sandra Chavez, chair of the Polaris Tech Committee. “We have a lot of work to do to get Polaris Tech built and opened in 11 months, but we are confident that True North will get the job done.” 

Phase 1 of the school will be located in an approximate 28,000 square-foot facility in Ridgeland on the site of the former Ridgeland Hospital across from the county airport and located near public schools. Polaris Tech Charter School Committee currently has an option to buy the property. 

Phase 2 plans include expansion to about 60,000 square feet in coming years as enrollment grows and the school becomes a full middle-high school. 

Polaris Tech is scheduled to open in August 2018 for a minimum of 210 and up to 250 students in grades 6-10. Although organizers anticipate most of the students will come from Jasper County, Polaris Tech is open to all South Carolina students. Applications for enrollment will open Jan. 1, 2018 and continue through March. 

“Signing on our developer is a huge step in the right direction for Polaris Tech Charter School,” said retired four-star Air Force General Lloyd “Fig” Newton, a founding member of the Polaris Tech Charter School Committee and Jasper County native. 

“True North’s team put together a strong proposal for us that addresses our immediate needs and our tight timeline,” he said. “They also know we are committed to bringing on as many qualified local workers and subcontractors as possible, and that’s important to us.” 

Walt Gill, president of True North Companies, said Polaris Tech will be a beacon for opportunities in the Lowcountry. “It’s a thrill for us to be part of Polaris Tech with all the innovation they are bringing to their charter school,” he said. “We are experienced working with charter schools and we’re proud to be part of the Polaris Tech team.” 

True North Companies, LLC, specializes in developing schools and is experienced with charter schools especially in Georgia and South Carolina. That’s important, Chavez and Newton said, because charter schools operate with different funding than traditional public schools and often need an accelerated construction schedule. 

“We truly are blessed to have a company as versatile and experienced as True North be located just a few hours from Jasper County, and for them to commit to helping make Polaris Tech Charter the best possible facility,” Newton said. 

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