HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Joint Facilities and Finance Committee approved Phase 6 of an athletic plan to focus on upgrading softball and baseball fields.

It would be funded with $5 million once per year.

The proposed upgrades include stadium-style bleachers, improved drainage and more seating for those watching the games.

Joe Burch, Horry County Schools coordinator of capital projects and planning, proposed an upgraded seating standard.

The proposal would add 100-150 more seats to the current one. Almost all schools in the district would receive upgrades, including five schools that currently do not meet the proposed standard.

5A — or larger school seating capacities were also proposed.

“Five years ago, as you know, the South Carolina High School League added 5A to the classification,” Burch said. “So, we don’t even have 5A in our current standards, so we need to look at adding that.”

Horry County school board also met Monday night to approve a proposed settlement offer from Juul’s parent company of more than $400,000. Horry County Schools said it expects to receive the funds in the first half of 2024, but a decision on how the funds would be used has not been made.

The topic of book banning was once again the topic of discussion during public comment, even though it wasn’t on the board’s agenda.

“The idea of the First Amendment is pretty simple, if you don’t like something, then you don’t need to read the book in the first place,” one resident said. “Prohibiting the expression of an idea because society finds it to be disagreeable or offensive goes against the wills of the founding fathers.”

“But, as you know, these are the type of books that are at Horry County Schools that we are concerned about and that we would like to see removed from the shelves that are inappropriate for young people to read,” a Moms of Liberty member said. “They do not teach appropriate things.”

Also approved at the committee meeting was a $1.1 million demolition project for the old Socastee Elementary School, as well as a timeline and budget for eight schools to undergo major capital improvements.

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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.