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Waccamaw High: Flood and codes run up costs for baseball shed

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Construction of a new storage building at the Waccamaw High baseball field will cost twice as much as a new house. The Georgetown County School Board approved the lone bid for the work this week after hearing concerns from district officials that the cost could rise if the work is delayed.

Mill Park Corp. of Pawleys Island bid $143,120 for the 1,160-square-foot building, which will be an addition to the home dugout. It’s a block building with some electrical and plumbing connections, said Mike Rollison of SGA Architecture, which has a contract with the district for building design and review.

The cost works out to $123 a square foot. The average cost of a new home in the county in September was just under $62 a square foot, according to building department records.

“It’s a lot more than we expected,” Rollison said. He’s been working on the project for four years and has heard from team boosters that they could build the project themselves for far less. “No, you couldn’t,” he told them. The building has to meet state codes for school facilities.

“We’ve been working on this quite some time,” said Lisa Ackerman, the district’s director of procurement. It started out with a package of similar storage buildings, press boxes and a sidewalk that the district hoped would attract the interest of contractors. They didn’t.

While Ackerman said she was disappointed that only one firm bid on the work, she told the board that Mill Park will do a good job.

Superintendent Randy Dozier said the flooding that damaged portions of the state last month was also a factor. “Everybody has so much work,” he said. “Where there’s less work available you might get a better price.”

While the price of the Waccamaw storage building was high, he feared that delaying the project again would only cause the cost to rise. Besides, the school has waited a long time and would like to have the facility for the coming season.

The Warriors now keep their equipment, along with maintenance supplies, in a shipping container behind the visiting team dugout. A leaky shipping container, baseball coach Jeff Gregory said. “We’ve got to get those uniforms moved,” he added.

The team recently held its first meeting and will embark on a round of fundraising, mostly for field maintenance costs, Gregory said. He appreciates the community support for the program and is grateful for the new facility.

Gregory put the cost down to meeting the school facility codes. “It’s amazing what it costs to meet the codes,” he said. “We’d love to be able to do it for half and use the rest of the money someplace else.”

And while the school district sees a storage building, Gregory’s long-term goal is to see it become a locker room. “The district’s going to build a shell building. That’s all it is,” he said. The locker room would be a project for the team to take on somewhere down the road.

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