Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School

Blythewood, S.C.


Submitted by: Harper General Contractors

Owner Richland School District Two

Lead Design FirmCraig Gaulden Davis

General ContractorHarper General Contractors

Structural EngineerArrowood + Arrowood

Civil Engineer ADC Engineering

MEP Engineer Buford Guff & Associates

Subcontractors Advanced Door Systems Inc.; Allen Inc.; H.R.; AOA Signs, Inc.; AT&T Engineering; B&B Steel Services LLC; Ballentine Equipment Co.; Beltram Edge Tool Supply Inc.; Bezaleel Contractors; Bonitz Flooring Group Inc.; Bonitz Inc.; BrandSafway Solutions LLC; Building Industry Services LLC; Bunnell-Lammons Engineering Inc.; Cadnetics; Cannon Roofing; Carolina Commercial; Churchich Recreation & Design; CIDS LLC; Inc.; Coastal Millwork & Supply LLC; Construction Specialties Inc.; Cook & Boardman Inc.; Cornerstone Concrete Svcs. LLC; Dominion Energy; Door Guy Installation Co. LLC; Excel Fire Sprinkler Co.; Fairfield Electric; Firestop Carolinas Inc.; First Choice Pest Control LLC; Food Design Associates; Glenn Associates Surveying Inc.; Graham-Hodge Assoc. Inc.; H.E. Hodge Co. Inc.; Harper Corp.; HarperTech; HMH Contract LLC dba Carolina; Innovative Foodservice; Johnson Controls; LAD Construction LLC; LB PIE LLC dba PIE Consulting & Engineering; Macuch Steel Products Inc.; McDonald Enterprises Inc.; Metro Waterproofing Inc.; Metrolina Steel Erectors; Mitchell Metals; Mr. Tint Inc.; Newman Fence Co. Inc.; Owens Cleaning Services LLC; Palmetto Shelving Systems; Palmetto Utilities; Pascon; Portable Services Inc.; Precision Walls – Charleston; Precision Walls – Lexington; ProFab Custom Fabricators; Rabon Enterprises Inc.; Raymond Engineering; Richland County Engineering; Roebuck Wholesale Nursery; Schindler Elevator Corp.; Seco Architectural Systems; Smash Ink Design Inc.; Southeastern Dock & Door; Southern Painting & Maintenance Specialists Inc.; Sparkle and Shine Cleaning Co.; Spratlin Controls; Steel Fab; Thompson Services, Inc.; Town of Winnsboro Water; Tru Vista; TrueLook Inc.; Upstate Stucco & Stone LLC; Valley Beverage Solutions LLC; Walker & Whiteside Inc.; Walker White Inc.

Constructing a 21st-century elementary school while honoring a beloved historic legacy is no small task, but the Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School blends the new with the old in a striking building ready to carry students through the next century.

With a design aimed at creating a learning environment that fosters critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication, the school features flexible classrooms and built-in sensory learning opportunities with colors, shapes and patterns that engage students in creative and scientific thinking.

Students enter the building in an inviting, two-story space infused with daylight and featuring a colorful, biophilic composition and views to nature, a natural wood ceiling, patterned glass and hexagonal acoustic wall panels along an easy-to-navigate main corridor. Those panels invoke nature and have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that the wood was harvested from responsibly managed forests.

Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School

Photo courtesy Firewater Photography

But among all that new, the existing gym will be restored and surrounded by a park to preserve a connection to the school’s history, constructed with locally sourced brick and block, metal panel and glass curtain wall.

Harper General Contractors, the construction manager at-risk, was able to complete the $39.1-million, 141,000-sq-ft school—and demolition of the old school—on budget and ahead of schedule in less than two years.

The school will house up to 750 students from kindergarten through 5th grade and features biophilic design strategies that nurture not only a low-stress, positive emotional environment but also support a state-of-the-art learning facility.

Electric wall air dryers will cut down on the school’s paper product use, and bottle filling stations were installed for students.

Working on an active school campus meant difficult site logistics. The Harper team coordinated specific construction activity around the county’s academic calendar, requiring extensive preplanning and attention to detail.

Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School

Photo courtesy Firewater Photography

Building information modeling was also crucial to Harper’s team, which “built the project twice” with modeling to limit design issues in the construction stage and better coordinate with stakeholders.

One of those stakeholders, Will Anderson, Richland School District Two chief operating officer, says in a letter that Harper General Contractors kept in close communication with the district, including the project management team that navigated the active school site where classes continued through construction. That includes adjusting car rider loop details multiple times and delaying construction during school hours. At the school’s topping out, each student signed the last beam to be raised. Car lines and students weren’t the only issues to work around. At the onset of construction in October 2022, prices for steel rose dramatically in the wake of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the team and owner, Harper modified the design to reduce the amount of steel required and to create a better product for the school system. The team bought out roofing materials early, storing them off site to guarantee the materials would be ready when needed.