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Waccamaw Library: Cutting a story from new branch leads to bid for more land

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County will be able to save money on the new Waccamaw Library if the school district donates an extra acre to the project, according to the county library director.

Dwight McInvaill asked the school board this week to give the library system some more land it owns on Willbrook Boulevard. The district gave the county 2 acres in 2008 in exchange for road improvements at the entrance to the nearby Waccamaw Intermediate School. The district bought the tract for $1.75 million in 2006 to provide access to the school.

The county scaled back the budget from $6 million to $3.5 million for the library, which is due to open in 2014, as revenue for capital projects has declined. McInvaill said the additional land would allow for construction of a single-story library. The original plan showed a 28,000-square-foot facility with two floors.

Building on one level would cut costs for elevators and stairs, and for supporting the load on the second story, McInvaill said. It would also cut operating costs because fewer staff will be needed to supervise the public.

The new Waccamaw Library will probably be similar in size to the Georgetown library, about 18,000 to 19,000 square feet, McInvaill said.

“The Great Recession is impeding our ability to build as much as we would like,” he told the school board.

But he said there are other benefits from the revised plan. Safety and access will improve. The extra land will allow the entrance to be moved farther from Wildcat Way, which carries traffic for the intermediate school and Waccamaw Middle.

With more land, the library will have room to expand in the future. McInvaill said he doesn’t want to end up in the same situation as at the current Waccamaw Library. The 7,000-square-foot facility opened in 1990. “It’s all hemmed in,” McInvaill said.

The school board took no action on the request, and McInvaill said he wasn’t expecting an immediate decision.

“We look forward to working together,” School Board Chairman Jim Dumm said.

The library system works with the school district at the Carvers Bay branch, which is located on the campus of Carvers Bay High School.

An expansion at the Andrews library that had its “soft opening” this week contains space that will be used for continuing and adult education programs.

“We share a lot of things with the library now,” Superintendent Randy Dozier said after the meeting. “Carvers Bay has been a good partnership.”

The original land deal for the new Waccamaw Library called for one acre to be used for the building and the other to be used for shared parking with Waccamaw Intermediate for after-school functions.

The additional land that the library wants on Willbrook Boulevard is in front of the Midway Fire Station at the corner of St. Paul Place.

“We would never use it anyway,” Dozier said. “We bought that property for the road, and we didn’t want to be surprised by any neighbors.”

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