Folkman leaving school district

By Nicole Daughhetee

Courier Staff

COUNTY — On Nov. 27, 2006, the School District of Pickens County’s board of trustees approved a $315 million building plan that provided for the construction of four new high schools and a state-of-the-art technology center.

Now that the building program is in its final stages, the man who was hired to direct it is moving on, to a new program in Dorchester County.

Bob Folkman has successfully led the building program through many ups, downs, twists and turns that have resulted in the construction of brand-new, state-of-the-art high schools in Central, Easley, Liberty and Pickens, as well as a new Career and Technology Center, new elementary school and various design and renovations projects.

In late November of last year, a group from Dorchester County, with $187 million in funding for capital improvements, came to visit Daniel High School based on word of the school’s successful design and construction.

They wanted a building program model to study, and Pickens County had one to offer.

After the meeting, Folkman was invited to speak about the many lessons learned during the SDPC building program and his tenure heading up the feat. Following that presentation, Folkman was offered a career opportunity he couldn’t refuse.

Beginning in August, Folkman will assume his duties as building program director for Dorchester County District 2 schools. In the meantime, he has cut back his hours in Pickens County — working Friday and Monday in the district office and making certain everything is running smoothly at construction sites throughout the week.

Folkman leaving the SDPC has yet to be announced publicly district officials, but spokesman John Eby says this is only because he hasn’t left yet.

“His time was only going to be through the end of the building program,” said Eby. “We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.”

Bob Cook, who currently oversees operations for the district, will see through the completion of the SDPC building program after August and continue as operations director.

Folkman, whose background is in construction, is excited about tackling the challenges of a new building program from the ground up.

“This is a four-year program that will get me to my retirement doing something I enjoy,” said Folkman. “I love construction.”

When he signed on with the SDPC, Folkman had his share of challenges and controversies to overcome.

“One of the biggest challanegs was being informed that the building program was $13 million over budget,” said Folkman. “Knowing that I had to make decisions and little to work with.”

Overcome those challenges he did, and now Folkman and the school district have many accomplishments about which to be proud.

“I am most proud of the work we did at McKissick (Elementary). It was on the radar to have some superficial remodeling,” said Folkman. “McKissick was considered a problem child, but we were able to make it safer and a better educational facility for the students.”

Daniel High School is also a source of pride for Folkman.

“Last summer, between June and August, the school was occupied, emptied, abated and demolished,” said Folkman. “I still can’t believe we accomplished all that in such a short period of time.”