$30M project used to renourish Folly Beach while educating high schoolers

Folly Beach construction zone transformed into classroom
Updated: Feb. 19, 2014 at 8:11 PM EST
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FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A multi-million dollar project is in full swing to save Folly Beach and protect homes.

Crews are working around the clock rebuilding several miles of the shoreline that have washed away over the years.

Water and sand is being pumped onto the beach from 3 miles off shore.

"This is a 24 hr operation," said Wes Wilson.

Wilson is a project manager of the $30.7 million project run by the Charleston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"They started placing sand in January and they are scheduled to be complete at the end of June," said Wilson.

The dredge sitting miles off shore is the heart of the project.

Wilson said, "It shoots a mixture of water and sand from that dredge out under a 3 mile pipe on the ocean floor."

Wilson says crews are working to renourish 5.34 miles of the beach.

"Moving approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sand," said Wilson.

"It's going to provide protection to the residents of Folly Beach; it's going to provide protection to the small businesses during the hurricane seasons, the nor'easters that we get," Wilson.

Wilson says the crew works in an area of about 500 yards as they move up and down the beach.

Wilson said, "We're in front of a home between 2 and 7 days. It's a short term inconvenience for a long term benefit."

The engineers say the federal government is paying for 85% of the project and the city of Folly Beach is picking up the other 15.

"As part of the Charleston Navigation Project, the Charleston jetties have an impact on the loss of sand on Folly Beach, hence the government's participation on the project," said David Warren, one of the project managers.

Locals say they are excited about the upgrade.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said, "It'll be really good for not only Folly Beach, but like I said the folks who come here to visit us going forward."

Mayor Goodwin says the project was four years in the making, now he's ready to enjoy the beach for years to come.

Folly Beach construction zone transformed into classroom

A $30.7 million project was transformed into a classroom Wednesday on Folly Beach for National Engineers Week.

A group of high school students from Charleston Charter School for Math and Science got an up close look at how crews are trying to save Folly Beach from washing away.

"We actually get to go out and sort of experience it. Pretty cool coming out here instead of just sitting in class and looking at it in a book," said Jonah Fishter, a high school senior.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers taught the class about the project going on to add more sand to 5.34 miles of Folly Beach.

High school senior Ryan DeMichael said, "I didn't know how they could make something all the way 3 miles in the ocean come right here to the middle of the beach."

Students are getting a close look at a real life career.

"It kind of gives me experience, like shadowing," said Fishter.

The Charleston District of the Army Corps of Engineers has a partnership with several Lowcountry schools promoting their S.T.E.M. outreach program.

"Which is science, technology, engineer and math," said Sean McBride, a public affairs manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.

McBride says the goal is to promote those subjects with the students.

"And build our future engineers, mathematicians for the nation," said McBride.

Through the hands on approach, students are able get a better idea of what they want to do.

Fishter said, "I think I want to major in environmental science."

DeMichael said, "I plan on going to Mississippi State getting my degree in wildlife conservation law enforcement."

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