HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – St. James Elementary School is next in line for a major upgrade - a new roof.
The price tag of the replacement roof is an estimated $450,000, which school district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said will come from sustainment funds the district already has.
"We need to fix that school the best we can to make it as safe as we can, to make it as strong as we can, without rain and moisture and mildew and all those issues,” said Horry County School Board Member Helen Smith, who represents District 6, which covers a small portion of the St. James area.
District officials said the roof will be upgraded from its current tar and gravel structure, which will hopefully prevent future leaks.
"We're going to have to sustain these schools and one of the problems they may be having with the leaking and mold in the schools is leaking ceilings in places that need to be repaired,” said Smith.
A new school is necessary at some point in the future, according to Smith. Right now, however, the district doesn’t have the money to build one, so they need to take care of what they can right now.
“We really have to replace St. James within the next 15 years, and hopefully the funding will be there with whatever new funding source we’re able to get from the public to build new schools,” she said.
Jared Smith, a parent at St. James Elementary, said after all the air quality issues the school had earlier this year, he’s happy to hear the roof is being replaced.
"They stop the leak, they stop the water. I think that’s going to make a lot of parents and a lot of people happy. Especially the kids and faculty in the school, which is the most important anyway because that’s who’s being affected directly,” said Jared Smith.
The district said they plan to move forward with soliciting bids for the project.
It’s unclear if the project will be complete by the next school year, but Bourcier said children will still be able to attend school if work is still taking place.