Another Delay for New Beaufort County High School

The controversial proposal to build a new high school in northern Beaufort County in the Dale community now has another hurdle to overcome. The school district was supposed to go before the zoning board of appeals tomorrow to obtain a special use permit to build the school, but they delayed their plans after they found out new about a nearby chemical plant.

"We knew it was there, we knew what they produced," said schools representative John Williams. "We received some new information though in terms of some of the plant facilities on their property and how that related to where we plan on building a high school."

After much opposition and controversy, the school district was finally scheduled to seek a permit to build the proposed $28.7 million school. But now, they're putting their plans on hold.

"We really just want to make sure all the information we submit was accurate, that there was no second guessing, no questions," said Williams.

Despite all the controversy, voters agreed to pay for this school when they approved a $120 million school bond referendum in March of 2000. Now, nearly 4 1/2 years later, school officials are hoping to close the deal.

"We're looking at possibly shifting the way the high school itself is laid out on the property, perhaps moving a parking lot to another location," said Williams. "That's all we're looking at. Our engineers will be working on this this week, we anticipate to have more details next week so we hope to have it back to the development review team at the county within the next month."

By law, the bonds for this new school have to be issued by March of 2005, so if they don't get approved for the permit soon, they won't be able to use the referendum money to fund the new school.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey,