Horry County School Board cancels 30 acre land purchase for new school

Monday, the Horry County School board canceled a 30 acre property purchases intended to be the site of a new Socastee Middle School after water drainage issues were discovered.

The location of the property was off of Highway 707 and Big Block Road.

The purchase would have been the final property needed for the district multi-school and multi-million dollar building plan.

However, a last minute discovery of drainage issues scared the district away from the purchase.

The district must find a new property within in a few months or they could slow the building process.

Back in April, the Horry County School Board approved the purchase of land for the new Socastee Middle School.

However, Board Chairman Joe Defeo says that property lacked proper drainage.

“Four months of rain made a big difference in the wetlands which was not anticipated by them. They {property owners} certainly would have loved to sell us that property and we certainly would have loved to buy it’s a good location,” said Defeo.

Defeo says the district could have adjusted the property to suit its needs if it was able to act sooner.

He says it is too much of a gamble to make the purchase now, so the district took advantage of an option written into the contract to cancel the purchase.

But that means the district needs to find a new property.

“The cost could end up being more, but it really depends on infrastructure,” said Defeo. “If you buy a land for a million dollars do you have to put another million in it, or if you buy one for $1.7 million you hardly have to put anything it,” he added.

He says the district will consider another piece of property owned by a local company; along with  three other possible locations.

He says if the district and board can act quickly enough the building plan should stay on schedule, but that all depends on finding a property.

“If it’s longer than two months, than there would be a delay in that one school,” said Defeo.

Defeo says even if the Socastee Middle School is delayed, the other schools could begin construction.

He says an architect will be chosen by the fall.

And he expects shovels in the ground for the building project within three to four months.


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