Moncks Corner — With the $198 million bond referendum approved, Berkeley County School District officials hope to make 2013 the year of construction projects.

“This is a best guess and an aggressive schedule,” Superintendent Rodney Thompson said of the plan. “I think folks are ready to see things happen, but it’s very, very aggressive.”

Plans call for starting preliminary work on five new schools and two major renovation projects in January. Construction on the new buildings will start in 12 to 15 months.

An elementary school near Sheep Island would probably be the first project because developer MeadWestvaco has set aside land in Nexton, its 4,500-acre planned development. The district needs to acquire sites for the other schools, which could take six months, said district Projects Manager Connie Myers.

Under the current schedule, Sheep Island would be followed by Tanner Plantation Elementary, Clements Ferry High, Clements Ferry Middle and Fox Bank Elementary, with one school opening each August from 2014 to 2018.

“If we could open one a year over that four-year period, it would be ideal,” Thompson said. “Even if we have the dollars to build them, we still have to operate these schools, and (opening one a year) would not put too much stress on the operating budget.”

Major renovation projects at Stratford and Goose Creek high schools will start in January. Projects at Cross High School and Marrington Middle School of the Arts will start in July.

The projects should be finished in 2015 and 2016.

Goose Creek — which will receive the most extensive renovations — “is going to take the most amount of creativity,” said school board Chairman Doug Cooper. Construction will take place while students are attending school.

Smaller renovation projects at 29 other schools will be ranked, with projects that involve safety issues receiving top priority, Thompson said.

The board expects to approve the preliminary project schedule at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.