Board approves decision to borrow loans for highschool addition, renovation | Newest Headlines


The Amherst County Faculty Board unanimously accredited a decision supporting borrowing thousands and thousands of {dollars} for an addition and renovation to the county’s highschool.

The Amherst County Board of Supervisors intends to pursue basic obligation faculty bonds to not exceed $35 million to finance a brand new auditorium, renovations to the cafeteria and meals court docket, conversion of current eating area into profession and technical schooling (CTE) makes use of, upgrades to Lancer Stadium, a brand new fieldhouse subsequent to the baseball and softball fields and extra parking.

The county is planning an utility to the Virginia Public Faculty Authority for the loans to finance the biggest faculty development mission in additional than 20 years.

The highschool renovation and addition mission is estimated at about $19.6 million, based on R.T. Taylor, of Davenport & Firm LLC, the county’s monetary guide. The appliance to the VPSA is due Feb. 28, he stated.

Taylor stated the quantity borrowed is $31 million, with greater than $11 million in current debt from a mission the division and county entered into in 2016 to improve heating, air and air flow infrastructure enhancements within the division. The division is taking out outdated debt by refinancing it, much like a house refinancing mortgage, he stated.

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“We’re not going to borrow any extra debt than we have to accomplish the mission,” Taylor stated.

County Administrator Dean Rodgers has stated the county is making the most of low curiosity loans whereas it might in financing the mission. Taylor informed the college board the technique is saving cash.

Faculty Board member John Grieser stated he appreciates the board of supervisors’ assist.

“I’m pleased with the [supervisors] supporting the growth, which incorporates some CTE applications,” stated Grieser. “We’ve acquired to offer them area and the flexibility to show them abilities to do this.”

Gary Roakes, the division’s supervisor of upkeep and operations, stated the subsequent six to seven months will contain the design section of the mission and getting work to bid later this yr for a basic contractor.

Building on the brand new auditorium is predicted to start out in mid-2023 and be accomplished in 2024, an estimated 16-month mission, based on Roakes. A lot of the work is deliberate over two summers whereas college students will not be in class, Roakes stated.

  • On the request of Chief Tutorial Officer Dana Norman, the board accredited a further face distant studying days for the present faculty yr on the county’s highschool, two center colleges and Amherst Training Middle. Norman stated if the extra days will not be made obtainable the division must shut faculty these days and never supply distant instruction. Norman stated a request won’t be made for any prolonged distant studying days on the county’s six elementary colleges.
  • Norman reported the division lately obtained a $60,000 grant from the Coronavirus Response and Reduction Supplemental Appropriations Act for a faculty local weather specialist, a one-year solely contracted place. The specialist will play a important position in bettering scholar efficiency by making certain every faculty within the division creates and maintains a constructive studying setting centered on the assist and growth of every scholar, based on the division. The specialist will work to facilitate neighborhood engagement, develop partnerships with neighborhood businesses to assist college students and their households and promote a technique to persistently coordinate educational, behavioral and home-school-community initiatives and helps. The division additionally lately obtained $181,555 in federal grant funding for earlier than and after faculty and summer season faculty programming. The measures are geared toward serving to shut the training hole, deal with studying loss and psychological well being wants in the course of the pandemic, Norman stated.
  • Roakes stated he has spoken with the Virginia Division of Transportation and a basic contractor a couple of mission that impacts the division, the reconstruction of Woodys Lake Street in Madison Heights. The highway is used closely in transportation to Monelison Center Faculty. Trojan Lane, which intersects with Woodys Lake Street, will likely be blocked off this summer season in the course of the development, Roakes stated. The division plans to maneuver all summer season school-related actions usually at Monelison to different services this yr, Roakes stated.
  • The board unanimously accredited the division’s 2022-23 faculty yr calendar, which takes impact July 1.

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