Horry County Schools to replace roof on St. James Elementary School

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – An Horry County elementary school, where several parents have complained about mold in the building, will get a significant upgrade.

The St. James Elementary School building near the Burgess community is 63 years old. Parents of students there hoped it would be replaced, but St. James Elementary didn’t make the list of Horry County Schools’ new buildings over the next five years.

While those parents wait for a new building, the current building’s roof will be replaced.

“It came up as the next project from our facility condition index,” said Mark Wolfe, HCS executive director of facilities. “We’re doing a number of roofing projects over the district right now, Myrtle Beach High School, North Myrtle Beach Middle (School), Ocean Drive Elementary (School) and a bunch of other ones.”

The district says the roof will cost about $450,000 and have a 20-year warranty. Wolfe says the roof will hopefully last for at least 15 years. The sustainment project was discussed during the HCS facilities committee meeting Monday.

For several months, St. James Elementary parents complained mold in the building caused their kids to develop chronic sicknesses. While no SJES parents spoke at Monday night’s HCS board meeting, they have spoken during at least three other meetings in 2019.

HCS says roof leaks and moisture after Hurricane Florence caused mold to develop in the building.

“Moisture is the enemy, so roofing is one of the major things, anything in the envelope of the building,” Wolfe said. “We’re glad to be able to get to do that for the school.”

While it’s unclear what else HCS will do inside the current building, some school board members say they hope a new one is on the way.

“St. James Elementary is a school that needs to be replaced,” said Helen Smith, an HCS board member who represents part of the St. James attendance area. “It certainly will be replaced in the next 10-12 years, without a doubt, if the funding comes through.”

HCS board chair Ken Richardson says a new roof could also allow for a new use for the building if and when classes move to a new school.

“It might be somewhere right down the street and then, we could still end up using the St. James building for something else we need,” Richardson said.

Wolfe says HCS will start looking for a contractor next week and the goal is to start replacing the roof this summer.

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