CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - It has taken decades, but the area's first Catholic high school is now scheduled to open next year.
"We really wanted to have our students be very grounded in the faith, so that they could have an academically-excellent education," said Jane Bunal, administrative assistant for the Seton campaign office.
Construction crews have been getting the land along Carolina Forest Boulevard ready for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic High School.
A feasibility study done back in 2000 proved the need for a Catholic high school in the area. The Grand Strand is the only region in South Carolina without one.
The Carolina Forest Boulevard location was chosen because it is a similar distance from each of the feeder Catholic schools, Bunal said.
The school is funded entirely by grants and donations from parishioners. The fundraising campaign started in 2013.
It surpassed the initial goal of $3.5 million to fund Phase One, which includes the 15,400-square-foot building, high school classrooms, a cafeteria and an administrative office.
The funding pot is now $4.1 million. The new goal is $5 million to add some extra features such as elective classrooms.
The school will start with ninth grade then add a grade level each year after that.
An official groundbreaking is scheduled for November 7th. The bishop will be in town to bless the land.
Construction on the high school should be finished next summer, but there are future plans to eventually add a church and an elementary school here as well.
Bunal said the school is considering adding a turning late to alleviate any traffic issues although she said they should be minimal at least for the first year.
"There's only going to be about 20 to 30 students," she said. "We don't think there will be that much of an impact, but still it will be something that we need to think about."
Ride III Sales Tax Advisory Commission Chairman Eddie Dyer is already strongly considering the possibility of widening Carolina Forest Boulevard.
"I'm only one member of the committee, but Carolina Forest certainly one of my high priorities," Dyer said.
Seton Catholic High School is just one of the many reasons the work is becoming necessary, he said.
"Those are critical areas to give people some help out there with getting to and from work, the kids to and from school, just getting out and about," Dyer said.
The school expects to have a principal hired by January then registration will follow for August 2016.