HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools is preparing for a historic increase in student enrollment over the next five years.
The Horry County School Board met on Monday to discuss solutions for several schools being pushed to their maximum capacity.
The rapid growth is forcing the school board to prepare quickly, currently, 20% of student enrollment is out of the Carolina Forest.
Rather than investing millions into a brand new school, the board will look into several modular classrooms for the time being. Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said the district does not want to overbuild to the point where they’re forced to close schools that aren’t being used.
”Potentially down the road we may need to build a new elementary school, we may need to see some of those modular units moved to the high school within the next five years so that is something we will continue to look at,” said Bourcier.
This year alone, 675 new students enrolled in Horry County Schools, which is a 1.57% increase from last year. Of those, 503 were are currently in 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
”Most of our growth in previous years was on the elementary school level, now we are starting to see the increase of those kids growing up so the pool is at the middle school level and eventually they’ll get to the high school and cycle out,” said Bourcier.
Instead of a new facility, the school board is looking into several modular units, an upscale portable classroom that sits just outside the main school building.
However, schools like Carolina Forest Elementary, Ocean Bay Elementary and River Oaks Elementary will need their modular units in place by next year.
”It’s very expensive to build schools and if we can manage the interim growth through a modular classroom possibly through an addition, those things are easier to fund than a whole new school,” said Bourcier.
In total, the eight modular units needed by next school year would cost roughly $1.6 million.
The school board also discussed plans for the new Horry County Education Center and the renovation of the old Myrtle Beach Intermediate School on Oak Street.
”We will be re-purposing that center by bringing back our adult education program, housing school records and our science kids,” said Bourcier.
Six other schools will also be in need of modular classrooms by 2025, which have a few nicer features compared to portable classrooms used in years past.
”They’re a little more inviting, well-maintained and better designed than what they were years ago,” said Bourcier.
Over the next five years, Horry County Schools expects an 8% increase in student enrollment, putting them at just over 47,000 students between kindergarten and 12th grade by 2025.