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Plans move forward for renovation of former middle school

By Kim Walter - kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL - The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday morning to either approve or table a proposal from Moseley Architects to prepare construction documents for the portion of the former 15th Street middle school that would house the Warren County Public Schools maintenance office, in the amount of $82,208.

Funds already have been set aside for the design of the school maintenance part of the building, and according to an explanation of the request, "it is anticipated that the school board maintenance staff would perform the renovation work based on the approved plans."

The section of the building is just one phase of the total renovation project.

Originally, the 15th Street property was going to be extensively renovated into a modern school facility, but the board instead decided to use the building for several county departments, including two of the school system's, the health department, parks and recreation, social services and the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.

Existing facilities used by these departments are "in poor shape."

The School Board and Board of Supervisors have agreed on a 30-year lease for the former middle school. A new name for the building also will be voted on at Tuesday morning's meeting: the Warren County Health and Human Services Complex.

Two major projects are under way in the building, and both should be completed during 2012.

The roof is being replaced, and should be finished by September for slightly over $2 million. Funding for the renovation and other projects was identified from the historic tax credits from the middle school on Luray Avenue.

In June 2011, a hazardous materials study revealed that asbestos and mercury needed to be abated from the facility. That project is expected to be completed by June.

An additional $50,000 was included in the 2011-2012 budget for associated projects.

The School Board plans to sell its current maintenance facility on Commerce Avenue to help with renovation costs at the new location.

Other portions of the building that will house remaining departments will be renovated as well, but only "as funding allows," said County Administrator Doug Stanley.

Moseley Architects was selected last year to conduct design work. The county's building committee has reviewed their request at their meeting in April, and has now forwarded it to the board for approval.

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