Construction of a new regional recreation center in the town of Andrews is underway after a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 4.
According to Georgetown County Public Information Officer Jackie Broach, the total cost of the 24,000-square-foot structure is estimated at $5.5 million. It is the last of the regional recreation centers scheduled for replacement or new construction being funded through the Georgetown County Capital Improvement Plan. She said construction is expected to be complete in early September 2019.
Town officials, including Mayor Frank McClary and Administrator Mauretta Dorsey; Georgetown County officials, including County Council Vice-chairman Austin Beard and Council members Lillie Jean Johnson, Everett Carolina and John Thomas met with S.C. Rep. Carl Anderson for the ceremony. The new center will be located at the site of the former Andrews High School, with the main entrance being at the intersection of Cedar and Martin Luther King avenues.
"We are looking forward to this new recreation center opening in about a year," Beard said after the event. "We think it will be a real benefit to the county."
The new center will house a sport court, rock climbing wall, flexible programming space, meeting room, aerobics room, cardio/weight room, and locker rooms with showers, Broach said. The traditional Lowcountry design will be nearly identical to the regional recreation facilities completed in Choppee and Pawleys Island. The facility was designed by SGA Architecture in Pawleys Island and the general contractor is Hanco of South Carolina Inc., Broach said.
"I think this is one of those types of facilities that really brings the community together for recreation,"McClary said, adding that he is excited about it. "It will offer programs for middle and high school kids to an aging program that will be run out of this facility."
He said with this new center and new industries in the area, including Safe Rack and Agru America, as well as new businesses like O'Reilly Auto Parts, it shows Andrews is changing for the better. He said like any small town, people leaving in search of better opportunities is always a concern.
"Things popping up now give us confidence that people are interested in coming back to Andrews," McClary said. "It gives people hope of things moving in the right direction."
Anderson agreed that the new recreation center will be important for the citizens of Andrews and surrounding areas. He said as a member of the state legislature who represents District 103, he has pushed for Georgetown County to receive Capital Gains funding for its Capital Improvement Plan.
"Over the years, we have always made sure that Georgetown County gets its fair share of dollars from the state so capital projects like this can be funded," he said. "As we have seen with other recreational facilities in the county, it gives people a place to go to exercise and have different functions. The community uses them."
Broach said the schedule for programming is still in the works and Georgetown County Parks and Recreation is always looking for new programs and class instructors. Call 843-545-3275 for information.