Demolition has begun on the original 1950s-era barrel gym at Aiken High School, and renovations have started on the Taylor gym.

Dr. Shawn Foster, the chief officer of Operations and Student Services for Aiken County Public Schools updated the district's construction projects at the Aiken County School Board's regular meeting Tuesday.

Students and teachers have moved into the new wing at Aiken High, Foster said, giving the final update on the project. The new wing includes an auxiliary gym and classrooms for the arts, culinary and NJROTC.

"Everybody is excited. The kids are having a great time,” Foster said. “When you walk through that building, you can see the excitement on those kids' faces. It warms your heart. This community has done a great service to the community and its students.”

The second floor almost is complete at the new Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, Foster said. The site work, grading, fencing and lighting, in addition to the bleachers and the press box are progressing.

“That's moving forward very, very fast,” Foster said. “It's amazing what they have accomplished in a short period of time.”

The new school is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Work is progressing on renovations and new construction at the new Graniteville Elementary School. The building, which formerly was the Byrd Learning Center for adult education, will open when the school year starts Aug. 19 to help alleviate overcrowding at the nearby Byrd Elementary School.

“You see site work, bricking, masonry, interior painting,” Foster said. “We're progressing very well. They are on track to have that building open and ready for students.”

The foundations have been poured, and walls are going up on the new restrooms at the Silver Bluff High School football stadium.

“As we've done in the past three years, we're adding restrooms to our athletic facilities. We did Midland Valley High and South Aiken High as well,” Foster said. “We're on track and, hopefully, a little earlier than we have with the other projects to be complete before football season.”

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.