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Waccamaw Library: School district works on land swap for branch

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The Georgetown County School District is looking at a land swap if it provides additional acreage for the new Waccamaw Neck library. Superintendent Randy Dozier said this week he would like additional land at the county’s Retreat Park to allow future expansion of Waccamaw Intermediate School.

The school board agreed in 2008 to provide an acre on Willbrook Boulevard for the library in exchange for road improvements by the county to facilitate the opening of the intermediate school. The district bought 4 acres on Willbrook Boulevard in 2006 for $1.75 million to gain access to the intermediate school.

The board agreed to provide another acre for parking, which the school could share.

Dwight McInvaill, the county library director, asked the school district this year for two more acres. Plans for the 17,000-square-foot library were revised from two stories to one as a way to cut costs.

The county has committed $3.2 million and the library is trying to raise $1 million to provide and equip an additional 4,000 square feet.

“What I’m looking for is a possible land swap,” Dozier said. “That’s a fairly big chunk of property.”

He is talking with County Administrator Sel Hemingway and plans to make a formal recommendation to the school board on Nov. 15.

The school board has been supportive of the concept, which would be the second county library located next to a public school. The Carvers Bay library adjoins a middle and high school.

McInvaill said getting 4 acres on Willbrook Boulevard would give the library enough room to build and provide for future expansion.

“We don’t want to be hemmed in like we are at the current site,” he said.

The school district doesn’t want to be hemmed in either. Dozier noted that the ballfields at Waccamaw Intermediate now straddle the property line with Retreat Park.

“Those playing fields were going to be used jointly with the county,” he said, so there isn’t a boundary issue.

But the district would need more land to expand the school. Dozier said he doesn’t necessarily expect to swap acre-for-acre, since there will be shared parking.

“We wouldn’t have been able to build Waccamaw Intermediate where it is if we hadn’t traded property,” he said.

The Waccamaw intermediate and middle schools are on property Georgetown County acquired from Brookgreen Gardens in an uncontested condemnation. The school district shared the cost and got the middle school site. The balance was planned for a county park.

But the park hadn’t been started when the district sought land for the intermediate school. It got 20.5 acres in exchange for property around the county and long-term leases that allow the county to use school sports facilities.

With the library, the expected restrictions on traffic adopted when the intermediate school opened will be lifted, notably the ban on left turns for eastbound traffic on Willbrook Boulevard.

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