High School Sports

Is Brookland-Cayce merging with Airport High School? Athletic director sparks rumblings

Lexington 2 school district is trying to tamp down rumblings that Brookland-Cayce and Airport high schools may merge after the B-C football coach and athletics director floated the idea following Friday night’s game between the rivals.

In a post-game video interview with a freelancer for The State, B-C coach Rusty Charpia supported the idea.

“I’m going to say this now while I’ve got the opportunity. ..It’s actually gaining some momentum, we’re really looking at trying to put the two schools together,” Charpia said. “It would just be unbelievable if that could ever happen. There’s actually some talk about that, so I’ll just leave it at that, but that would be something special.”

Any decision to consolidate schools would ultimately be made by the Lexington 2 school board. Board chair William Bingham said Charpia’s comments were “an absolute shock” to him and other board members.

“There’s been zero discussion at the board level,” Bingham said. “There’s nothing. We just spent a lot of money updating both campuses. There’s no appetite for that at all.”

In 2014, voters approved a $255 million bond referendum to make school improvements, including to the athletic facilities at Airport and Brookland-Cayce. Earlier this year, B-C opened a $10-million gymnasium on Knox Abbott Drive.

Superintendent William James also shot down the idea, saying the board had not discussed the possibility, as far as he knew.

Brookland-Cayce High, which was founded in 1932, had 964 students in 2018. Airport High’s student body is around 1,350. The school opened in 1958.

Brookland-Cayce and Airport both have deep roots in the area, Bingham said. They are institutions.

“They’re the lifeblood of this area so any idea that we’re just going to merge the schools, it’s unfathomable to me that somebody would suggest it,” he said.

Isabella Cueto is a bilingual multimedia journalist covering Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She previously worked as a reporter for the Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she studied journalism and theatre arts.