School Board backs capital improvement plan

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Isle of Wight County School Board unanimously approved a plan to build a new elementary school, as well as make numerous upgrades to existing infrastructure at a cost of about $77.4 million over a 10-year period. 

The next step is for the plan to go before the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, which controls school funding. 

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The long-range plan is the culmination of input from community meetings and a parent committee.  

The Isle of Wight County School Board is trying to be proactive in terms of absorbing the growth that is coming to the county while maintaining the continued quality of education for all students, said Isle of Wight County School Board Chairperson Vicky Hulick, adding that this is an improvement on the county’s existing plan and is subject to change, if necessary.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The proposed new elementary school would be built in fiscal 2022 in the northern end of Isle of Wight, and would be in response to continued growth in that part of the county. 

Isle of Wight County planning staff projects that the county will grow by more than 300 students in the next four years, and by nearly 900 in the next 10-15 years, according to the school capital improvement plan submission. 

The cost of the new elementary school is estimated at $38.8 million and includes land acquisition. Construction of the new school is scheduled for fiscal 2022.

In the immediate future, the school division is looking to renovate and add an addition to Hardy Elementary School, which would include five new classrooms, a new gymnasium and an enlarged cafeteria. That project is slated for fiscal 2020 and is estimated to cost $13.4 million.

This upcoming school year, rising fourth graders will remain at Hardy rather than move on to Westside — a strategy that opens up more space at Westside, which is also nearing capacity.  

Following the renovations at Hardy, about 125 students would be rezoned from Carrollton Elementary School to Hardy to compensate for population increases in the Newport District, said Hulick.

If the new elementary school is built, Westside Elementary will house sixth and seventh graders, and additional classrooms will be added, as well as major renovations to the existing building at an estimated cost of $17.1 million, according to the plan. 

The school currently has grades 4-6. 

Other components of the plan include roof repairs at Windsor High School for $825,000 in fiscal 2021, a new bus garage estimated at $6 million in fiscal 2020, and a new central office for $2 million in fiscal 2028.  

The existing bus garage has only one bay large enough to hold the type of buses that now make up the county’s fleet, said Hulick.  {/mprestriction}