The 50-year-old Thomas Sumter Academy, well-known in the Camden and Sumter areas for its Christian-based education program, is expanding to open a campus in the Columbia area.
Beginning in August, kindergarteners through fifth graders will have the opportunity to be Thomas Sumter Generals studying at a soon-to-be-leased campus at Temple Baptist Church on Universal Drive, near Hopkins.
The second campus will operate in conjunction with the school’s Rembert campus, which will continue to host preschool through 12th-grade classes. About 420 students currently attend the school.
Thomas Sumter headmaster Debbie Nix said she and the school are “just so excited ... to be able to take (the school) out and offer it to an area of Columbia where we understand there are a lot of neighborhoods with families with young children.”
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The school’s quest to expand was prompted by several Thomas Sumter alumni families living in the Columbia area who asked whether the school would consider opening a campus closer to their homes so they could give their children the same schooling experience they had enjoyed.
The school currently buses in nearly 40 children from areas outside Sumter and Camden. The new campus will be more accessible to those families living in the Columbia, Hopkins and Gadsden areas, Nix said.
The new, two-story school building at the Temple Baptist campus had sat empty for a while, and the church had been praying about how to make use of it before the school contacted them, Nix said.
“It was a God thing,” she said.
New students at the Columbia campus will have access to all the same academic opportunities as their peers in Rembert, Nix said. The school even plans to provide transportation for its Columbia-campus students to its Rembert campus for participation in its “mini-cheerleading” program for athletic events, Nix said.
Nix said the school does not have an estimate or goal for the number of students expected to enroll by August at the new campus. But “we have gotten an awful lot of positive feedback,” she said, “and many people are very, very interested.”
“If we get a big response, we will be able to handle it,” Nix said.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.
About Thomas Sumter Academy
Thomas Sumter Academy is an independent school in Rembert, near Camden and Sumter, offering a Christian-based education.
The school opened in 1964 with 112 students in first through 10th grades. It has grown to have about 420 students from preschool to 12th grade.
It recently was named a School of Honor by the South Carolina Independent School Association.
Learn more about the new campus
Thomas Sumter Academy will host three open houses to introduce prospective new families to the school’s character and its new Columbia campus.
The open houses will be at 806 Universal Drive (Temple Baptist Church) in Columbia on these dates:
▪ Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
▪ Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.
▪ Saturday, April 9 at 10 a.m.
For more information about enrolling, call (803) 499-3378.