Plans given to Horry County School officials on how to pay for $240M building project

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Monday, representatives from First Floor Architects presented to Horry County School officials several ways to pay for the $240 million building plan, however school officials say they most likely will not use any of the suggestions.

First Floor Architects is the company that won the winning bid to build the district’s new schools.

Horry County Chief Financial Officer John Gardner says he’s never seen a third party company present payment plans in nearly 20 years.

“I don’t plan on addressing his proposal,” said Gardner.

Robbie Ferris, CEO of First Floor Architects, the company that won the $240 million building project, presented two ideas for payment to district and board officials.

The ideas were a “deferred payment” or a “long term lease”.

Leasing was immediately off the table, because school officials say they don’t think it’s a legal option, and First Floor’s finance plan was too expensive in comparison to the district’s traditional means.

“It’s not a fit for us. It might fit some school districts, but not us,” said Gardner.

School board member Ray Winters asked the district to listen to first floor’s proposal.

News 13 asked him why he considered a non-traditional payment method.

“To me you can’t make a wise decision on one set of facts alone. You have to have both sets of facts, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” said Winters.

Winters was a member of the committee that helped select first floor for the building plan.

He says First Floor’s ability to provide payment options was a major consideration in his final decision.

Winters says after he heard First Floor’s options, he does not think it’s the most cost effective choice.

However, nothing is officially decided and will not be until at least December.

One thing that has been officially decided is the contract.

The 16 day protest period ended today and district lawyers say no one filed a protest.

The district can officially sign the contract papers with First Floor architects.


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