Horry County school board OKs some new building projects

vgrooms@thesunnews.comFebruary 24, 2014 

— Two new buildings and two school additions can finally be built for Horry County Schools now that the projects have received unanimous approval from the Horry County School Board.

The board voted Monday to move forward with the projects, which have remained on its short-term facility plan since October.

The projects are an addition and renovation for North Myrtle Beach Middle School, estimated to cost about $6.6 million; an addition and renovation for Midland Elementary School for $11 million; the replacement of the Horry County Education Center, also known as the Alternative School, for $4.7 million; and the replacement of Socastee Elementary School for $27 million.

The board’s vote also included the development of design models for an elementary school and a middle/intermediate school.

Vice Chairman Neil James said that while there are a number of building needs in the district, these are projects that need to begin. He said the board has expressed its concerns over prototypes and wants flexibility in building designs, but realizes there are budgetary limits.

“I think we’ve discussed this to death,” said board member Harvey Eisner, who has been pushing to get some projects going, as so many on the board’s facility list are badly needed.

Board member Janice Morreale said she and Eisner saw some school designs last weekend at the S.C. School Boards Association convention, with one – Dillon Middle School – that was built for 800 students coming in at about $16 million. James estimated that with furniture and other costs added to the construction cost, that model would come in at around $25 million, which is less than some estimates the board has seen for new middle schools.

Eisner said flexibility will be a main focus for any new school because it will have to be able to meet the needs of students for years down the road.

“I don’t want to build the Taj Mahal, but I do want something that will work with new technology and with new programs,” he said.

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

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