News Column

Water headed to Medient Studios

May 22, 2014

By DeAnn Komanecky, Savannah Morning News, Ga.

May 22--A key step toward developing the Medient studioplex property in Effingham County got underway this week with the start of drilling a fresh water well.

Medient Studios Inc. has plans for a $90 million movie production and entertainment complex on the 1,500-acre site off Interstate 16 at Old River Road.

The property is owned by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority. Medient has a 20-year lease with an option to purchase for $100 at the end of the term.

The well is permitted to draw up to 150,000 gallons of water a day. The well will make use of the existing 155-foot water tower that can hold up to 500,000 gallons of water.

The development authority will pay the $800,000 cost of the well.

Workers will drill a 12-inch wide hole to a depth of 600 feet with drilling expected to take four to 10 weeks.

The well drilling began on Monday and is being done by Pinco of Garden City.

Pinco owner Scott Pinholster said that first a 6-inch-wide pilot hole is drilled to a depth of 80 feet and left for a day or two before eventually being drilled to 600 feet.

Holes of increasing width will be drilled until 12 inches is reached. Steel bits with carbon tips are used on the drill stems.

The well will drill into the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

"We will probably hit that at about 200 to 300 feet," Pinholster said.

"Drilling this well should allow the studios to get up and running quickly now," John Henry of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority said earlier this week.

Jay Self with Medient Studios said there are no firm dates for the next phase of the project.

"Our general contractor is doing survey work and working with the IDA on phasing plans," Self said.

Plans previously announced have included a movie studio as the sole focus of phase one with phase two calling for a parking structure and corporate office. The project also includes residential space, an amphitheater and retail space.

"This is an extremely ambitious project," Self said. "We need to do quite a few things to get the project to full utilization."

Some road work will also be necessary soon to allow better construction access to the heavily wooded site.

The permitted capacity of the well under construction may not be enough as the project moves forward.

"We are not sure how much water the fully envisioned property will take," Self said.

As other phases are undertaken, he said, Medient will have a better idea of needs and the best way to get the water to the site.

Medient CEO Manu Kumaran, earlier this week, said building the physical infrastructure of the studioplex is a fundamental milestone in its success.

"Due to the scale of the project, the design and engineering of the water infrastructure is critically important," Kumaran said, "and I would like to personally thank the teams of people who have worked on this to help achieve today's milestone.

Self also said Medient has four movie projects in various stages of production.

One film is the horror story, "The Damned," which will film in Savannah beginning this summer.


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Source: Savannah Morning News (GA)

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