Seacoast Youth Academy in Myrtle Beach is breaking ground on an expansion that will allow for about a dozen more area children to be housed, fed and rehabilitated.
The facility currently houses 49 boys and girls, and the expansion will allow up to 64 children and possibly new group activity rooms.
“It depends on the zoning and our needs, but we need more space and now we’ll have it,” said Ashley Spivey, admission coordinator.
Seacoast is a group care level III facility licensed by the S.C. Department of Social Services. The academy provides residential care for high-management children, ages five through 21, who have mental or behavioral problems. Children are referred to Seacoast by DSS, the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and other mental health departments.
“The expansion isn’t so much for us, but for the state – there’s not enough beds in South Carolina,” said Executive Director Kenny Dixon. “The expansion gives more kids a home and a place to get away from the trauma.”
Along with another new wing, the current facility will be renovated – including new floors and a fresh coat of paint. Construction should take around 150 days, and the facility must then go through relicensing, Dixon said.
“We’re debating the best use for the new space – it may make more sense to make a classroom or group room, depending on our needs,” Dixon said.
Seacoast Youth Academy has a 79 percent success rate, which gives the facility a good rep in the state, Dixon said. Both Charleston and Horry County agencies refer children to Seacoast, so sometimes there’s a waiting list – especially for pregnant teenagers.
“We’re one of two group homes in the state that accepts pregnant teens,” Dixon said. “We know it’s a big need, and other homes don’t even want to take on that risk.”
The groundbreaking is Friday, Oct. 17 at noon at Seacoast Youth Academy, 6367 Bay Rd., Myrtle Beach. For more information on the facility, visit www.seacoastyouthacademy.com or call 215-8080.