During the early years of Graniteville, Leavelle McCampbell School housed both the elementary and high school grades. In 1954, the Graniteville Company sold approximately 15 acres on the upper end of Ergle Street to the Gregg District Schools. The board decided to build an elementary school on this property. Both the state and federal government approved the tract of land.
The new elementary school, to be named Howard M. Byrd Grammar School, was dedicated on April 2, 1955. Mr. William C Lott, Vice President of the Graniteville Company, was the dedication speaker. Mr. L. M. Togneri was superintendent at the time of the construction of the new elementary school. Mrs. Essie Atteberry was named principal. It was suggested that the school be named Howard M. Byrd. The name was approved and the new school became known as the Howard M. Byrd Grammar School, honoring the retired superintendent of the Gregg District School.
Howard M. Byrd School opened in 1954 with 10 classrooms. Six classrooms were added in 1961. In 1964, the a cafeteria was added to the school. A number of mobile units was added, and finally in 1987 a new wing of the building was completed which housed a new media center, office complex with four offices, sickroom/work area, a reception area, a vault, and a storage area, two kindergarten rooms, two small classrooms which house speech and resource classes, four regular fourth grade classrooms, and restroom facilities for boys and girls. With the construction of the new wing came renovations to the old part of the building. The large area where the school cafeteria/kitchen was originally located had been changed to the media center, and now it became the computer lab/Art/Music room and Title I/Reading Recovery classroom.
In August 1998, a multi-purpose room was completed and used for physical education classes. During the summer of 1999 all interior and exterior painted surfaces were completely repainted. The following year, summer 2000, all carpeted and tiled floors were replaced throughout the entire building. Byrd Elementary School now enrolls approximately 540 students in grade Pre-K four through grade five. The school has a staff of seventy-three full and part-time employees, as well as many other itinerant persons, volunteers, and support persons. The Byrd School faculty envisions a school that focuses on academic pursuits, accountability, and high standards of conduct in a safe and nurturing environment. The mission of Byrd Elementary School is to provide a motivating and challenging education that meets the individual needs of each student.
The school has been a five-time winner of the South Carolina School Incentive Award Program. The school has begun a movement toward creating a community atmosphere within the school setting. Security Federal Bank offers each child the opportunity to start a savings plan at the school bank. The Wee Deliver Postal System, "Eagle Express", allows students, parents, and staff the opportunity to utilize the postal service for friendly letter writing and communications. Students are offered an opportunity to participate in worthwhile community and school beautification projects through the Learn and Serve Grant awarded to the school. With the ever changing atmosphere in education today, Byrd Elementary continues to stand tall in its pursuit of high academic standards and will strive to do so in the years ahead.
Byrd Elementary was chosen as a SC School Incentive Award winner in 1988-1989, 1990-1991, 1992-1993, and 1996-1997.
A special thanks to Mr. J. W. Peacock for researching this information for our school.