Spg. District 7 votes to keep Drayton Mills Elem. name

Rendering of Drayton Mills Elementary School (From: Spartanburg School District 7)

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Spartanburg School District 7 board members voted Tuesday not to rescind their vote to name their newest elementary school.

The school’s name, Drayton Mills Elementary School, was announced in August.

Tuesday’s vote to not rescind the vote was by a margin of five to four along racial lines, according to the district.

The name was originally approved by the same margin of five to four.

As part of choosing a name, African American board members requested that research be done if they chose to name the school after a person. When the first vote came up in October on the name Drayton Elementary, they learned of a Charleston connection that bothered some board members.

William Henry Drayton was well known for his work in the Revolutionary War and the early history of South Carolina. The mill on the Eastside of Spartanburg was named after him and the community around it became known as Drayton Mills. Now the abandoned mill has been turned into a shopping center and apartment complex, highlighting that history.

During the research period, the board learned that Drayton’s father owned several slaves and plantations in the Charleston area.

Some board members sided to name the school Drayton Mills Elementary to honor the history of the community, not the Drayton name.

The school is under construction across from Houston Elementary School on Skylyn Drive, east of Spartanburg.

Drayton Mills Elementary School will replace Houston Elementary and Chapman Elementary.

The school is located on land donated by Pacolet Milliken Enterprises. Pacolet Milliken provided the financing for the Drayton Mills re-development.

The elementary school is scheduled to open in 2018.