DHSA Discusses JVM Situation

To The Editor:
On May 20, 2014, Dillon Historic School Advocacy (DHSA) met with the Dillon County Board of Education to ask specific questions about this Board’s barring all access to the auditorium of former J.V. Martin Junior High School. Before DHSA left that meeting, Chairman Schafer invited the members to submit any other questions which the Board would answer.
In response I would like to voice a personal concern while asking the Board a relevant question.
In his response to our question regarding the basis for the Dillon County Board of Education assertion that the J.V. Martin School facility, specifically the auditorium and gymnasium, has been declared unfit and unsafe for public use, Chairman Schafer reported the information came from four entities:
1. City of Dillon Fire Chief,
2. State of South Carolina Fire Chief,
3. Director of the City of Dillon, Code Enforcement Office, and
4.South Carolina Department of Education, Office of School Facilities.
Written reports, documenting the findings of these four state and local agencies were not provided, as requested.
In addition to the above cited four agencies, the response included a reference to an email to the local school district, Dillon District Four, which was enclosed. The County Board’s response apparently purports the email provides the written documentation requested by DHSA.
 The email was sent to the Administrative Assistant to Dillon School District Four Superintendent, Ray Rogers. This email, dated Thursday, April 10, 2014, from Delisa Clark, Director of the South Carolina Department of Education, Office of School Facilities (OSF), does not provide substantive documentation relevant to the fitness or safety for use of the facilities. It does discuss several of the requirements to meet modern building codes. The OSF recommended a feasibility study to determine the extent of work needed and cost estimates.
Ms. Clark referenced two documents attached to her email to Superintendent Rogers’ office. While a copy of her email was provided to us, these two additional documents, attached to her email, were not provided. These two documents from the OSF files apparently are the basis for Ms. Clark’s understanding of the issues at hand, and her decision making and recommendations.
There also appears to be an error of fact, or misunderstanding, in the information provided to Ms. Clark, in that in her April, 2014 email, she stated: “the building has not been occupied for at least 12 years.” The last occupancy of the J.V. Martin facility was, in fact, two years ago in 2012.
We have made numerous requests for copies of the fire and condemnation reports with no result. Do we need to make a Freedom of Information request in order to get these documents?
Thank you for your kind attention. If you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us.
Sincerely,
Betty Lou Barclay
Billy Carmichael
Lorene Arnette
Members of Dillon Historic
School Advocacy