HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Schools Finance Committee heard an update about the new Whittemore Park Middle School at a meeting Monday night, including a potential need for a budget increase.

The total cost to build the school is now estimated to be $48.5 million, according to Joe Burch, HCS planning coordinator. He said this was a 7.5% increase from last year, but that they had the money in the budget for this increase.

Burch said the increase in building cost may force the board to increase the budget, but is hopeful that the numbers will go down.

“Our hope is the numbers will come in better than this and that we can take the base bid and the alternate without needing a budget increase,” Burch said. “But I will not know that until mid-June.”

Negotiations to determine a final guaranteed maximum price with construction firm H.G. Reynolds will begin June 14, according to Burch.