School board OKs construction prices, considers raising impact fees

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After Beaufort County voters approved a $344 million bond referendum in November, the Beaufort County Board of Education has set maximum prices for building additions at River Ridge Academy and May River High School. M.B. Kahn Construction of Columbia will build the bond referendum’s first two projects for a guaranteed maximum price of $20.9 million. Those projects include River Ridge Academy, which will add four classrooms on each of its two existing wings and add a new eight-classroom wing. May River High will add a new two-story wing containing 23 classrooms. 

To help offset the cost of future school construction projects necessitated by future population growth, Maryland consulting firm TischlerBise, which was brought in by the school district to examine how to increase impact fees paid by developers, recommended two options. One would require builders to pay an $8,660 fee on single-family dwellings and a $4,076 fee per unit in multi-family dwellings. The other plan would include a $9,535 fee on single-family dwellings and a $4,508 fee per unit in multi-family dwellings. New housing north of the Broad River is expected to be exempt from the fee in both options, as schools there are able to absorb all projected enrollment. 

TischlerBise is also handling an impact fee study for Beaufort County, which it recently presented to Beaufort County Council’s planning commission. South Carolina requires that impact fees are re-evaluated every five years, or before any changes are made to the fee rate.