Beaufort County School Board approves new gym for Whale Branch

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County School Board approved a new gymnasium for one of its schools after residents voted "no" on a previous tax referendum that included this project.

The current gym set-up at Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook is causing scheduling conflicts and shortened practices. 

Whale Branch has four basketball teams, and since the school's opening in 2010, all four teams have practiced and played in the same gym making it the only school in Beaufort County that doesn't have a separate gym for competitions and practice.

Right now, the teams rotate their practices, which means there are times when students are still practicing as late as 9 p.m. at night. So the school board decided to place the new gym under a state provision that allows the county to borrow up to eight percent of its property value.

Besides the extra space, this new gym will have some extra perks as well.

Mona Lise Dickson, the principal of Whale Branch, said, "not only is it hard for our teams with playoffs because of the capacity by South Carolina High School League, we cannot hold a playoff game after the first round. So we basically lose our home-court advantage, and that's tough for kids who go on the road to play their opponent.

The school board estimates the gym will cost about $4 million. They are hoping to have it designed and built and ready for play by the 2018 basketball season.

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