HCS considers sports tourism partnership

HCS considers sports tourism partnership

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Schools are considering a partnership with local cities to boost sports tourism while supporting school athletics.

On Monday night, a small committee of board members and school officials met for the very first Financial Committee meeting. While they discussed facts and figures surrounding budgets and audits, the committee also read a memorandum for the first time regarding sports tourism.

The Memorandum of Understating, or MOU, is to establish an agreement between Horry County School District and the City of Myrtle Beach. It would allow Myrtle Beach to utilize school facilities for sports-related events.

The discussion was led by John Gardner, the Chief Finance Officer with Horry County Schools. The draft document reads as follows:

Term: October 28, 2014 through June 30, 2016 (with annual reviews each October)

As stated below, Parties hereto agree as follows:

City of Myrtle Beach

1. Will serve as the liaison with the event holder.

2. Will be responsible for coordinating the activities with the Office of Student Affairs.

3. Will be responsible for obtaining a certificate of insurance for General Tort Liability

from the event owner in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 naming Horry County

School District as an additional insured.

4. Will be responsible for the collection of all fees from the event holder.

5. Will submit payment to Horry County School District within 30 days upon receipt

of invoice.

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MOU/City of MB

Horry County School District

1. Will establish rental rates that include the services of a site supervisor/director and

a custodian.

2. Will not be responsible for security, ticket takers, or scorekeepers.

3. The rate for a baseball/softball field will be $150.00 per game per field.

4. The rate for a basketball court rental will be $100.00 per hour per court.

5. Will bill the City of Myrtle Beach for all fees related to the event.

6. Will give sports tourism events first priority after scheduled school events.

7. Will strive to allocate facilities based on the proximity of the host venue.

8. Will retain the rights to all concessions.

9. Retains the right to restrict access to portions of the facilities that are not included

in the event.

10. Retains the right to close facilities/fields due to scheduled maintenance.

11. Will make best efforts to provide at least 30 days' notice if any scheduled facility

must be released due to maintenance issues.

12. The site supervisor/director be the authority on whether games may be

played/continued due to field or event conditions

Gardner explained, if passed, the MOU would be up for review every October for the committee to reassess salary costs and rental fees.

The agreement would have the City of Myrtle Beach acting as a liaison for sports-related events. The committee recognized sports tourism is a big ticket item in Myrtle Beach with thousands of players and their families coming to new facilities.

The city would submit the payment to HCS, which would be split between the General Fund and the School Fund. Gardner explained the money could potentially go to supporting school athletics, for example buying new equipment.

Some committee members expressed concern over schools such as Aynor and Green Seas not being able to host a lot of events. They cautioned the funds for upgrades should be equally used across the district.

Speaking of even playing fields, the committee also worried the partnership could give other municipalities and private companies the wrong impression.

"Sports tourism is competitive. In my opinion, I am concerned with hitching our wagon to a particular market," expressed John Poston, the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Gardner explained to the committee they also had North Myrtle Beach in the discussion process, and the partnership isn't limiting the district to solely working with Myrtle Beach.

"We brought two big players to the game, this can extend to other markets, but allows us to iron out the details for future agreements," Gardner explained to the group.

Chairman Poston said he wants to be sure not to pick sides since "we are using public funds we need to serve all communities."

The committee stressed this is a draft document that has not yet been brought to the Board of Education. The Finance Committee plans to present it to the board as soon as possible.

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