Horry County Schools Selection Committee

A Horry County Schools committee is scheduled to recommend next month which design-build team has been chosen to build each of five new schools.

After the recommendations are made by the Horry County Schools Selection Committee, the full Horry County School Board will vote either up or down on the recommendations.

The three teams remaining in the selection process are First Floor Energy Positive, Thompson Turner Construction and M.B. Kahn Construction Co.

Each team submitted two to five specific projects to be evaluated. Evaluation of each proposal will include school district emphasis on the ability to deliver high quality, energy positive schools.

According to sources familiar with the process, the Selection Committee is scheduled to complete its work by October 12, 2015. However, those sources say this deadline may be difficult to achieve.

Of the three remaining teams, M.B. Kahn is the most familiar to Horry County.

It served as the project manager for the new terminal building at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

Having watched that process from the beginning, I can only hope the Horry County School District will do a better job of vetting and overseeing a proposed project, it if were to choose Kahn to do one, than Horry County Council and staff did.

A process that began as a project to expand the old passenger terminal at the airport was allowed to become one that built an entirely new passenger terminal that the airport didn’t need.

The cost rose from an initial spending goal of approximately $50 million to a final cost of approximately $120 million.

One of the first things done by Kahn’s initial salesman on the project was to hire a public relations/lobbyist to help sell the idea of a new terminal to Horry County Council.

Some of the information related to council was that the old terminal could not be expanded for various reasons, which included not being up to required standards for hurricane force winds and not being able to be brought up to new code if work was done on the old terminal.

These claims were refuted by the architect who designed the old terminal building and by City of Myrtle Beach code enforcement staff.

But, through the process, a majority of council was sold on the need for a new terminal. The council members who voted to spend the $120 million on a new terminal are just as much at fault for wasting public dollars as the Kahn representatives who advocated for the new terminal.

We can only hope the same does not become true of any school building projects the company may acquire.


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