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Horry County Board of Education prepares to pick architect to design elementary school prototype

Horry County Board of Education prepares to pick architect to design elementary school prototype

CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — With 20% of its student population in the Carolina Forest area, the Horry County Board of Education is working on plans to build two new elementary schools to relieve overcrowding.

The schools would be in addition to three already in the area — River Oaks, Ocean Bay and Carolina Forest elementaries.

“We are outgrowing our buildings due to growth, and we need another additional school, or we have schools that are aging,” Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said. “We have schools that were built in the 50s. It is not as cost-efficient to keep adding on to schools and keeping up with the systems that are in those schools.”

The district bought two pieces of land in Carolina Forest last year for two schools. One is next to the Carolina Forest Recreation Center, while the other is off highway 31 near Ronald McNair Blvd. Bourcier said at least one of those will be the site of a new elementary school.

The board of education is expected to choose an architect at its meeting on Monday to design a prototype of an elementary school that the county can use at potential multiple locations in the future.

“We will look to hire a general contractor to work with the design team, and that way they can troubleshoot any items or issues with [the] selection of material or things of that nature on the front end of a project instead of the back end,” Bourcier said.

It could take several months to finalize the design, she said.

“Then, we’ll have to go back and discuss prioritizing the type of schools we would like to build and how we plan to fund them as well,” Bourcier said.

Bourcier said the district has a few older and overcrowded schools, and that, in October, a firm will analyze each school and look at the systems, buildings, their age and population growth to see what the needs are. 

“And that’s really the tools we will use to guide future growth of development of schools within the next five to 10-plus years,” Bourcier said. “So that data is crucial, especially the facility assessment.”

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