Price tag for new CF elementary school to top $18M

Carolina Forest, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County School District is getting some temporary relief for its growing pains after school board members unanimously voted Monday night on the location of a new elementary school in Carolina Forest.

Officials say the school will sit on a plot of land along Augusta Plantation Drive, located near Highway 31. The Carolina Forest area is home to two other established elementary schools - Carolina Forest Elementary and Ocean Bay Elementary.

"Look around. We have lots of room for growth," said Dr. Nancy Ward, principal at Ocean Bay Elementary. "You can see that there are new housing developments that aren't complete and there are some new housing developments that are planned. We anticipate more students will move to the area."

Officials say the Carolina Forest area is one of the fastest growing communities in Horry County, and when Ocean Bay Elementary opened four years ago, it was over capacity on its first day. The school was designed by the district to give relief to Carolina Forest Elementary.

Ward says the school's second year of operation saw even more growth.

"We grew excessively. We enrolled 250 more students than we were anticipated to grow the first day of school," Ward recalled. "We were immediately packed."

But with Monday night's announcement on plans of the new elementary school, some people living near Augusta Plantation Drive say they're getting used to the idea of more traffic headaches. However, they understand the county's need for smaller class sizes.

"Education is very important," said Gloria Caldwell-Ott, who lives along River Oaks Drive. "If people drive more carefully and take things into consideration, I think we'll be OK."

Officials with Horry County Schools says the next step to making the new school a reality is to purchase 40 acres of land to begin construction. Officials say the land will be bought for no more than $750,000.

When the project is completed by its target date of 2012, the school will have cost more than $18 million to build. Funding for the new building is expected to be pulled from money raised by a 1 percent sales tax in Horry County.

District officials have not decided on a name for the new school.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.