Horry County Schools watches where homes are built as population grows

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – As hundreds of thousands of people are expected to move to Horry County over the next twenty years, the county’s school district is preparing for anyone with children.

When many housing developments are proposed in the county, neighbors are typically concerned about flooding, public safety and traffic, but the main focus for Horry County Schools is where any children moving here would go to school.

“We see about 20 percent of all of our students throughout the school district in the Carolina Forest area, but we’re also seeing a big growth on the South Strand, Socastee and St. James attendance areas, and even the North Myrtle Beach area,” said HCS spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

HCS says it’s in contact with county, city and town governments whenever housing developments are proposed. The most recent example of this is a proposal for nearly 2,000 homes off Collins Jollie Road in Conway.

HCS says it will ask the city to have kids living in that development, if it’s approved, to go to Kingston Elementary School.

“We’re able to potentially look at rezoning that particular area into a different elementary school attendance zone that’s already not at capacity,” Bourcier said.

HCS was also included in developing the county’s comprehensive plan called Imagine 2040. That estimates 275,000 more people will move to the county in the next two decades. While many of those people many not have kids in school, HCS board chair Ken Richardson has expressed fear that the district may need dozens of new or expanded buildings.

Bourcier says that’s why it’s important to pay attention to what kinds of developments are approved and where they’ll be.

“Some schools are landlocked and they’re built out to capacity for their needs, but we do have other options with some of the schools as well, looking at being able to add additions along the way and not have to necessarily build a brand new school,” she said.

Conway City Council is expected to begin discussing the Collins Jollie Road development next month, while county council still needs to pass Imagine 2040 one more time before its approved.

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