Horry County school board attempts to move forward on building projects

vgrooms@thesunnews.comSeptember 16, 2013 

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— The latest short-term building plan for Horry County Schools was presented to the school board Monday, then broken down so that board members hopefully could move forward and get at least some projects in motion.

Board members voted Monday night to move some items from the revised $314 million building plan forward to their next meeting for discussion, which should result in a vote.

Those projects include the replacement of Socastee Elementary School, Myrtle Beach Intermediate School and the Horry County Education Center; additions to Midland and Seaside elementary schools and North Myrtle Beach Middle School; and the possibility of building additions to St. James and Forestbrook middle schools.

The board met in June to prioritize building projects to ease overcrowding and replace antiquated buildings, aiming to do so without raising taxes, borrowing money or using district reserves.

To address overcrowding at St. James and Forestbrook middle schools, they agreed on a plan to build one middle school at $30 million that would draw students from both the St. James and Socastee attendance areas, but those students would then go on to the high school in the attendance area where they always were slated to attend.

On Monday, board member Janice Morreale, who represents the St. James area, said she was worried about the identity of the clusters and that she would rather have one middle school built just for the St. James area. That left the question of what to do for Forestbrook and whether the board was prepared to build a new middle school in each area at $30 million each.

No one had an answer for that, but board member Harvey Eisner, who chairs the building committee, urged the board to move swiftly so that any new building would be ready in four to five years to meet the district’s needs.

“We have to at least make some decisions on what we’re going to do, and let’s do it,” Eisner said. “We’re not going to get unanimity, but we’ve got to move people.”

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.

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