Possible delay for new Socastee Middle School if land purchase doesn't close

Possible delay for new Socastee Middle School if land purchase doesn't close

HORRY COUNTY, SC ( WMBF) – Construction on the new Socastee Middle School could face delays.

Horry County School Board Chairman Joe Defeo admits the school may not be ready by the projected August 2017 deadline if builders do not gain access to the land for Socastee Middle before late June or July.

However, of the five new Horry County schools being built, Defeo felt Socastee Middle is the one that could wait an extra month.

"Socastee Middle is the one that has the least overcrowding. It's not that it's less important, but from a standpoint of overcrowding, that was the one of least importance. So, I guess if there was a delay, maybe that would be the best one," Defeo said.

He added the cause for the delay is in the closing process for the land the school will be built on. It's a purchase Defeo is still confident in.

Even though the Myrtle Beach Family Learning Center still stands on the land needed for Myrtle Beach Middle School, Defeo said there's much less work needed there.

"You're talking probably a month less worth of work anyway at Myrtle Beach, so pushing that start date back - while you know not good - I still expect the Myrtle Beach Middle School to be done on time," Defeo said.

He expects the demolition of the Myrtle Beach Family Learning center to take place within the next two weeks.

The three schools that builders have begun work on are Carolina Forest Middle, Saint James Intermediate and Socastee Elementary. Defeo said these schools being ahead of schedule will only help the other two that are behind.

"There are walls going up on some of the three schools being started. And I would say in a month, month-and-a-half, we should go on a tour. And you would look and say, 'Wow, I see buildings.' So, things will start happening extremely fast," Defeo said.

Defeo wanted to remind parents and students the wait will be worth it.

"I believe once these schools are operational, probably more than one, if not all at some point in the near future, will be national blue ribbon schools. I really do believe that," Defeo said.

Despite the push back on construction for Socastee Middle and Myrtle Beach Middle, Defeo said the builders still anticipate all five schools being ready by August 2017, with Socastee Middle being the biggest challenge right now.

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