Revenue heads up: Penny Hall now official

The teal ribbon on the entrance of what is now known as Penny Hall was cut on the morning of March 27, 2023, for the dedication ceremony of the building.

Coastal Carolina University President Michael Benson was joined by Horry- Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) President Marilyn Fore and other university administrators to cut the
ribbon. The building, previously known as Academic Office and Classroom Building II, is named after the Education Capital Improvement Sales and Uses Sales Tax or the “Penny Sales Tax.” The tax funds the growth of Horry County Schools as well as HGTC and CCU.

Horry County is the only county funded by the Penny Sales Tax, and CCU is the only university funded by it. Coastal will receive 13.3% of the tax’s revenue, and Penny Hall now serves as a thank you to those in Horry County who voted to renew the tax until 2039.

“I hope that each and most of you pass by Penny Hall will see this name and thank the voters of our county who value education,” Benson said. “This needed to happen, and it needed to happen now.”

As The Chanticleer reported in January 2023, Benson plans to provide a new home for the Conway Medical Center College
of Health and Human Performance, an expansion of Lib Jackson Student Union, and a center for the arts.

Following Benson’s introduction, other key players in the naming of Penny Hall spoke including Student Government Association President Gabrielle Ryder, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Emeritus Edgar “Eddie” Dyer, Coastal Educational Foundation Chairman Michael Hagg, President Fore, and Horry County Schools Superintendent Rick Maxey.

Maxey said during the dedication that Horry County is one of the fastest growing counties in South Carolina as people are attracted to the area. He said high quality education in the county is the main component. Dyer agreed.

“We certainly appreciate the support from Columbia, but this campus is Horry County’s creation,” Dyer said. “Horry County had the idea for Coastal, Horry County birthed Coastal, Horry County built and continues to build Coastal, Horry County has financed Coastal, and Horry County has nurtured Coastal Carolina University into the source of regional pride that it is today.”

The “penny” has supported the construction of new facilities at both CCU and HGTC. Fore said the funding means everything to her because of what it will provide for the students.

“I was sitting there and I was thinking, ‘I really can’t believe that I am here.’ What a great gift it is to be able to be the president of a college and part of a three-way partnership,” she said.

Receiving 6.7% of the tax, Fore said HGTC plans to use their share to add new facilities and expand on the technology, specifically cybersecurity. Horry County Commission board members approved
a $175 million college-wide capital improvement plan of which $120 million is dedicated to the Conway and Grand Strand HGTC campuses. Fore said she wishes to buy a few acres to expand the Conway campus because she saw the greatest enrollment growth during the past year.