SANTEE – The Orangeburg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board plans to improve the work experience for consumers by developing a new site in Santee.
OCDSNB officials joined with local and county leaders on August 30 to launch what would become the agency’s Santee satellite site, the new Santee Industries.
OCDSNB Executive Director Vonda Steward said at the summer event:
The current facility at 758 Bass Drive is a dilapidated former carpet store.
Replaced by new building at 1787 Bass Drive. New building covers over 8,000 square feet.
Officials said the old building had been plagued by flooding and other problems that were not conducive to a good working environment for consumers.
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Holly Hill consumer Shalaya Higgins said she was looking forward to the new facility.
“I’m excited about it. I’m looking for a change,” she said. Higgins said OCDSNB staff have been very supportive of her and her pursuit of paid employment.
“They’ve done a lot, and I like it,” she said.
Vance consumer Akeem Mack also said he appreciates the fact that a new and improved facility is being built.
“I’m excited,” he said.
Since its inception in 1995, Santee Industries has been a supplier of fragrances, scented bars and body oils that are purchased and sold as far as Canada.
This product is manufactured by Santee Industries by OCDSNB consumers.
“This building will provide a safer, more modern environment for those serving the east side of the county. It provides an area dedicated to the high air freshener business.”
The $3.2 million project is funded by up to $1.5 million in institutional reserves, with the remainder funded by loans from the South State Bank.
Florence-based FW Architects Inc. was the architect for the project, while Pawleys Island-based Walker Engineering & Construction and Florence-based Ervin Engineering Co. Inc. provided construction and engineering services for the project. I’m here.
“Our mission is to help people with disabilities and their families access the opportunities they choose to maximize their potential to live, work and thrive as productive citizens in their communities,” the stewards said. That’s it,” he said.
OCDSNB Director Janet Gilchrist said the new Santee site will allow the agency to continue serving people in the eastern part of the county, providing job opportunities at improved facilities.
The agency’s services include early intervention, enclave employment and housing projects, in addition to special education services.
It is estimated to have injected more than $14 million into the local economy.
Gilchrist says the project has been in the works for over three years. She thanked her council of Orangeburg County for financial support.
“We are thrilled…our commitment is to treat every client the way we want to be treated,” she said.
Consumers don’t have to worry about flooding or space constraints they experienced in older buildings.
OCDSNB board member Teresa Hinnant said she was looking forward to the new building.
“It’s the height of a dream. We knew we needed a location on this side of the county… can’t wait to see the finished product,” she said.
Santee Mayor Donnie Hilliard said he was proud of the OCDSNB staff and recalled how they faithfully served two deceased members of his church.
“Everyone did great things with them. I’m proud of their persistence,” the mayor said.
Senator Vernon Stevens (D-Bowman) recalled his past work with OCDSNB.
“One of the best jobs was at Santee Industries.
OCDSNB has a long tradition of developing professional skills and promoting effective work habits.
Laura Cooper Davis, Manager at Santee Industries, said: …thank God for a dedicated and supportive board. This is just the beginning. God has a greater work for us. “