Horry County School Board leader predicts more new schools

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School Board Chairman said the board will look into building more new schools.

It was one of many topics discussed on Monday night at a meeting to talk about the board’s “Five Year Plan.”

“The goal of the meeting was to educate the board,” said Chairman, Joe DeFeo. “And also get feedback from the board to the facilities department and Superintendent.”

Facilities Director Mark Wolfe said maintenance, like HVAC repairs, for several schools, is a priority.

“The buildings aren’t necessarily all falling down as it might occur,” he explained. “There are some systems within that building that need some attention and they vary from building to building.”

An idea from DeFeo is to build a new school to replace the Horry County Education Center.

“That was in the plan four or five years ago,” he said. “It was pushed back. I don’t want to see it pushed back again. I want to see them build the building.” DeFeo said Horry County Adult Education could possibly go in the new building as well.

Coordinator of Planning for the district’s facilities department Joe Burch explained how the Carolina Forest, Socastee, and St. James attendance areas will likely see the most growth by 2021. Staff also expects the number of K-12 students to grow from nearly 42,000 students in 2016 to about 45,000 in 2021.

“Five or six years down the road, I anticipate having to build another school,” said DeFeo. “At least one school and I could see it being in the Carolina Forest area.” DeFeo also said it would most likely be an elementary or middle school in the next few years because a high school would take about ten years to plan and build.

The school district’s facilities committee and finance committee will meet on Monday to talk about what specific projects are priorities and how the board can pay for them.