‘Shovel-ready’ approach could speed up new school development in Horry County

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:09 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Leaders with Horry County Schools are looking at a new approach to keep up with the constant growth.

There certainly is a need in Carolina Forest. Carolina Forest Elementary, River Oaks Elementary and Ocean Bay Elementary are all at least at 124% capacity or higher.

The district has been managing that with modular classrooms.

Board members approved nearly 40 more Monday, but board member Helen Smith warns there’s only so much space for that.

“We may end up having as many modulars on a campus as there are classrooms in the building,” said Smith. “We’ve been in that position before. We’re a hurricane area. That’s not as safe as having children in a real building, school house.”

Back in late 2020, we told you about Horry County Schools buying some land near the intersection of Ronald McNair Boulevard and Christa McAuliffe Street for a new elementary school.

The district also purchased land along Carolina Forest Boulevard across from the library.

Two new elementary schools are planned, and the school board may have a new way to kickstart those projects.

The school board is considering getting these projects “shovel-ready,” so they’ll be good to roll on them as soon as they have the money.

Essentially, the Horry County Schools Facilities Committee would pay for permits, surveying, and design work up front while they wait for enough money to start the new school project. As soon as that money is collected they can break ground and have the school done as soon as possible.

Board chairman Ken Richardson said it’s helpful to have “shovel-ready” projects when it comes to Election Day in November.

The district is hoping voters will choose to keep up a one-cent sales tax that can be used for renovation and new construction.

Richardson says being able to show exactly where that money is going makes it easier for folks to wrap their head around.

The “shovel-ready” schools idea is still in the conceptual phase and has to go through a committee before heading to the board for a vote.

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