Town of Irmo Issues Statement on Permitting Issues with Ascent Classical Academies

Town of Irmo Issues Statement on Permitting Issues with Ascent Classical Academies

Irmo, SC – July 2, 2024 – The Town of Irmo is issuing a public statement to correct any misinformation regarding the recent postponement of the school year by Ascent Classical Academies due to permitting issues.

It has come to the Town's attention that Ascent Classical Academies has delayed the start of their upcoming school year, citing permitting complications. It is essential to clarify that this postponement is not the responsibility of the Town of Irmo. Ascent Classical Academies, as a public school, falls under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Department of Education and the Office of School Facilities, in accordance with South Carolina State Laws.

In May 2024, the Town of Irmo received a letter from the Department of Education addressed to the Executive Director of Ascent Classical Academies, designating the Town of Irmo as the Agency Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for permitting a temporary school at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, located at 6952 St. Andrews Road. The Town of Irmo did not formally request or accept this designation.

During a review of this letter by our third-party inspectors, it was determined that handling these permitting issues falls outside the scope of our existing contract. However, our third-party inspectors have indicated their willingness to discuss entering into a separate contract with the Department of Education for permitting and inspection services if requested.

Simultaneously, in late May 2024, Ascent Classical Academies submitted plans for review to retrofit the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church for their upcoming school year. The review identified several issues requiring discussion, including traffic concerns related to three nearby schools, as well as fire code and ADA accessibility compliance.

Upon seeking legal advice from our Town Attorney, the Town of Irmo was strongly advised against accepting the AHJ designation due to statutory and contractual constraints. The Town of Irmo does not inspect public schools for permitting, nor is this within the scope of our contract with our third-party permitting provider.

The Town of Irmo now considers this matter a legal issue and will continue to act in accordance with legal guidance.