This is one for the (record) books

A new high school campus planned in York, S.C., is so large – 128 acres, 416,000 square feet – that the Charlotte general contractor is approaching it as three projects in one: an academic area, an activities building and an athletic complex.

The $80 million-plus project, the largest of its type Edifice Inc. has been selected to build, brings its current educational construction workload to about 800,000 square feet.

The company, founded in 1978, has identified educational projects as a niche, especially important to builders now that a sputtering economy is slowing commercial and residential development.

Just how big is this one?

“This project's scope is more along the lines of some of the university work we have done in the past,” said Eric Laster, Edifice president and CEO.

The campus, designed to accommodate 1,800 students in grades nine through 12, will include the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center offering programs ranging from automotive to cosmetology.

A two-story building will house classrooms, administrative suites and a media center with separate wings for the technology center and academic complex. A single-story activities building will include a gymnasium, auxiliary gym, auditorium, cafeteria and other facilities.

The athletic complex will have a stadium, field houses, concession areas, track, tennis courts and playing fields for baseball, softball and soccer.

The campus will house the only high school in York School District One. Students will come from York, Sharon, Hickory Grove, McConnells, Smyrna and Bullocks Creek.

The existing high school will be converted to a junior high when the new campus opens for the 2010 school year.

School officials said they selected the new school site at Alexander Love Highway and Lincoln Road in western York County because, it's the “the epicenter” of the district.

“This will be the hub for York as far as high school education goes, but it also will be more than just a high school,” said Edifice's Mike Carlisto, group manger.

“It will be a part of the whole community – it is very important to them, and we are seeing that,” he said.

LS3P Associates Ltd.'s Columbia office designed structures to reflect the traditional architecture of York, upstate South Carolina's oldest city.

Buildings will incorporate sustainable design features, including natural daylight, water efficiency, outdoor spaces and labs and open-air social spaces.

Carlisto said his team has the experience to tackle the job. “We have done buildings like this on separate sites but not all together on one big site,” he said.

Among Edifice's projects are the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology in Charlotte and, more recently, Hickory Grove Elementary School.

About 30 percent of the company's business is educational construction. It has completed about 3 million square feet of school projects in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties.

Edifice plans to break ground as early as this week and finish within two years.