Horry Co. School Board calls meeting to discuss overcrowding

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County School District already approved a nearly $314 million plan to build and add on to several new schools, but the county is bursting at the seams.

A revised proposed plan adds several new buildings and costs and additional $12 million to fund.

In this new plan, St. James, Carolina Forest and Socastee are all on tap to get a brand new middle school. Seaside, Burgess and Aynor Elementary are up for additions. The revised proposed plan takes into account growth for the next five years.

But that's part of the problem. School leaders don't want to end up in the same situation five years from now they are in today. That's why School Board Chair Joe Defeo says every decision has to be well thought out.

"This is a $300, $400 plus million project and these schools are to be around for the next 50 years," says Defeo. "We can't build a $40 million school and then say 'oops we made a mistake'; It has to be done right."

Being done right means looking at everything from the use of portable buildings to designing classrooms that can serve in more than one capacity. Then of course, there's how to pay for it all. The new price tag in the revised plan is $326 million. Defeo says the district will look at every option.

"We have the millage, and we use that tax money and we use the penny tax money we have some money in the bank," he says. "There's options to borrow, and there's options for a referendum for the public so I don't know where that's going to go."

One thing we know for sure: leaders say they are glad to finally get things moving. Monday leaders will get a look at conceptual designs and construction could begin next year.

"It's been a couple of year process, and we are happy to start finally working on projects," says Executive Director of Facilities Matt Dean.

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