Horry County “alternative school” to get new identity, building plan moves forward

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County’s school district is looking to make some major changes to the so-called “alternative school.”

While many people in the county know the school by that name, the official name isn’t very unique.

“The name currently is Horry County Education Center, which is very similar to our adult education center,” said HCS spokesperson Lisa Bourcier. “Sometimes, people get that confused and may not really know exactly what that school is.”

The alternative school aims to help students return to a traditional learning environment. As Horry County Schools prepares to build a new $13 million facility, the Horry County Education Center may get a new name and identity. The HCS facilities committee recommended changing the center’s name during a meeting Monday.

Bourcier says the new name should reflect the alternative school’s mission.

“It’s a very important facility that we have here at Horry County Schools and we’re proud of it,” she said. “We want to make sure that, with the new location and the new school, that they get a fresh start too.”

School board members agree.

“This school does need its own name that stands out,” said Sherri Todd, who represents parts of Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest.

HCEC will move from its location on South Carolina Highway 905, about five miles west of Conway. The new building will go on undeveloped land the district owns, right next to the HCS main offices on Four Mile Road near U.S. Highway 501.

The facilities committee also recommended how to pay for the new building, without a tax increase or issuing debt. The current short-term facilites plan, also called the “pay-as-we-go” option, will give the project $3.1 million. There would also be $900,000 from residual capital improvement funds.

The rest comes from undesignated general fund balance, which is the district’s savings.

“Currently we have just a little bit shy of $25 million in that account, so that will drop it down by $9 million,” said Neil James, who represents Green Sea Floyds and Loris.

The school board could pick a new name for the alternative school by the end of this year. The new facility could be completed as soon as December 2020.

HCS will likely ask Conway to annex the undeveloped property since it’s not technically in the city.

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