Plans to address overcrowding, outdated schools move forward

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - During it's school board meeting Monday, Horry County School District officials unanimously voted to move forward on talks to expand and renovate some schools.

Socastee Elementary will get a new building at roughly $27 million. The Horry County Education Center will get a new building a roughly $7 million. North Myrtle Beach Middle and Midlands Elementary will get renovations and additions at roughly $17.6 million.

Horry County School District spokeswoman Teal Harding says the district will likely pay for it all through the one penny local sales tax. The district collects around $20 million a year from it. But board chair Joe Defeo says the numbers could change as designs haven't yet been finalized.

In the meantime, both the principals at Socastee Elementary and Midlands Elementary say they are excited to get a new school. Socastee Elementary is over capacity with around 730 students. They've managed by rearranging spaces and using outdoor portables. Socastee principal Diane Thompson says their walls aren't compatible with today's education.

"The infrastructure that we have now is not set up for the technology," she says. "The facilities were designed back in the 70's and 80's and so those things contribute to a lot of hardship."

We're told the district is looking at 2015 for a construction start date.

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