Proj Overview


Accelerating the schedule for the five schools had dual benefits: it saved money and relieved the extreme overcrowding that was driving the new construction. Myrtle Beach Middle School, St. James Middle School, Socastee Middle School, Socastee Elementary, and Ten Oaks Middle School were bundled together to garner economies of scale and speed.

The goal went beyond net zero to designing and engineering the schools to be energy positive. Their calculations predicted that the county would save millions per year and over the life of the buildings.

Read more about this project in the Winter 2022 issue of Ascent.


One critical element in energy efficiency was the use of precast concrete hollow-core slabs for the floor and roof structure. Gate Precast worked with the design-build team to provide an unusual application for the slab.

The reason for hollow-core and what was gathered from their research, is that steel-framed buildings lose heat very quickly.


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Project Team


Sfl+a Architects

Lead Designer

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners


Metcon and T.A. Loving, joint venture


Horry County Schools

Precast Concrete Producer

GATE Precast

Key Project Attributes

  • The project team designed and built five new energy-positive schools all at once to save money and relieve extreme overcrowding.
  • The goal went past net zero to designing and engineering the schools to be energy positive, in addition to creating a student-centric learning environment.
  • Relocating mechanical systems to a penthouse eliminated the need for ceiling tile in classrooms and maximized floor-to-floor height.
  • The project reduced building volume.
  • Ambient temperature is optimized before school starts in the morning, improving comfort for students and teachers.
  • Because concrete holds heat, HVAC us run at 3 a.m. when electricity is less expensive.

Project/Precast Scope

  • Critical element in energy efficiency was using hollowcore slabs for the floor and roof.
  • Thermal heat is stored in concrete, enabling peak load to be offset and heating and cooling periods to be delayed.