Consultants present possible future of schools to board

The Shenandoah County School Board was presented with a facilities master plan option at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Consultants, Tracey Richter, CEO of DeJong-Richter, and Mike Ross, of HBA Architecture, recommended a system of four elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools as its long-term facilities master plan for Shenandoah schools.

Richter said he and Ross blended the previous four options into a final single option for the board’s consideration.

“We are bringing you a plan, a framework, of what the division should look like in the next 25 years,” he added.

For the elementary schools, they recommend replacing Sandy Hook Elementary School during phase 1 in six to 10 years. W.W. Robinson Elementary School would receive capital renewal and educational adequacy renovations with potential replacement in 15 to 20 years. Ashby Lee Elementary School would close following the constructions of a new high school, a replacement to Sandy Hook and the conversion of two middle schools into elementary schools.

They also recommend that Signal Knob Middle School receive capital renewal and educational adequacy renovations with a 200-seat addition for increased capacity. Peter Muhlenberg Middle School and North Fork Middle School will be converted to elementary schools and will receive capital renewal and educational adequacy renovations with a 150-seat addition for increased capacity in each building.

Also recommended were capital renewal and educational adequacy renovations at Strasburg High School with a 100-seat addition for increased capacity with potential replacement in 25 or more years. Central High School will be converted or renovated for Triplett Tech and alternative education, and serve as the new construction site for a community recreation, performing arts and aquatics center. Stonewall Jackson High School will be converted to a middle school and receive capital renewal and educational adequacy renovations with potential replacement in 25 or more years. A new high school would also be constructed with a 900-seat capacity in a centralized location between current central and southern campuses.

Their recommendation stated: “Moving to four elementary schools, with an average capacity of roughly 700, will allow for smaller school sizes at the elementary level. In order to accomplish this, construction of the new high school must take place in the first phase. This frees up Stonewall Jackson High School to be used as a middle school and Peter Muhlenberg Middle School and North Fork Middle School to be used as elementary schools.”

This long-term plan would cost an estimated $188,700,726.

The recommendation added: “Total costs (in 2016 dollars) are estimated at $188,700,726. Costs for potential replacement of buildings in 15+ years are not included. It should be noted that the 25-year capital renewal cost of a facility could potentially be lessened in this recommendation, if it were replaced less than 25 years in the future.”

Also at the meeting:
• The Board approved changes made to Policy IICA-R to clarify expectations for field trips. Additions include requiring that all trips have a school division employee as a trip sponsor who is responsible for “supervision, conduct, and discipline of all students during the event,” the policy states. Supervisors will be disbursed throughout student seating. “If there is only one supervisor he/she will sit in the middle of the bus in order to supervise the entire bus. If there are two or more supervisors/chaperones, they will choose seats so that they are disbursed throughout the student seating and one supervisor/chaperone will be seated in the rear of the bus.”
• The Board approved a resolution for the purchase of five school buses authorizing an up to $410,500 tax exempt lease purchase and security agreement with Sun Trust Equipment Finance and Leasing Corp. The school administration recommends purchasing three 77-passenger buses for $80,640 each and two special needs buses for $88,790, with a total cost of $419,500.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

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