Small sinkholes around Pee Dee Elementary playground causing injuries

Small sinkholes around Pee Dee Elementary playground causing injuries

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Numerous holes are scattered around the field of the playground at Pee Dee Elementary School, posing a safety risk and causing injuries, according to a report from Horry County Schools staff.

"The fact that both of my kids have been hurt back there, that's enough for me to say it needs to be fixed," said Angel Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe's son Landon, a fifth grader at the school, said he likes to play football during recess, but he has gotten hurt while catching the ball.

"I caught it right where the hole was and I stepped in it and almost twisted my ankle," Landon said.

His sister, Kaylie, a fourth grader, said she has also fallen multiple times from the holes including once when she was playing tag.

"I collapsed straight on the ground," she said.

The siblings said they've seen other children get hurt too.

"A couple other people get sprained angles and broken legs and all that, so I hope that they fix it," Kaylie said.

Horry County Board of Education Chairman Joe DeFeo said the holes are formed due to low quality construction work from when the school was built more than a decade ago.

He said organic material, such as tree roots and twigs, were buried underneath the soil of the playground rather than removed and replaced with clean dirt.

Now that those materials are decaying about one foot below the surface, they're causing the surface soils to sink in and essentially form sink holes, the staff report said.

DeFeo said the work was done cheaply rather than correctly, but it was completed too long ago for the district to go after the original company.

A proposal for a $119,700 resurfacing project will go before the school board at 6 p.m. Monday.

"When you send them to school, you expect them to come home the way that you sent them there," Hinchcliffe said.

DeFeo said he expects the project to pass.

All of the root systems and tree stumps will need to be removed and clean soil will be used to fill in the space to prevent future sink holes.

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