Warren County schools and Valley Health will swap land

FRONT ROYAL –Warren County Public Schools will swap parcels of land with Valley Health as the hospital system moves toward replacing Warren Memorial Hospital.

The Warren County School Board voted unanimously during their meeting on Wednesday to swap land the school district owns by Leach Run Parkway and Oden Street for land the hospital system owns across the street, near the Warren County Middle School’s track and field.

In a letter to the district, Mark Baker, vice president of facilities, management and safety for Valley Health, stated that the land swap would give the hospital system land they could use for stormwater management and signs for the replacement of Warren Memorial Hospital.

“Such an exchange would allow [Warren Memorial Hospital] to utilize the intersection corner for stormwater management and signage purposes, while the newly formed pad behind the track could be utilized for maintenance facilities, overflow parking, or any other use as deemed prudent by the school,” Baker stated in his letter.

The vote comes as Valley Health is working on building a replacement for Warren Memorial Hospital across the street from Warren County Middle School. Members of the Front Royal Planning Commission took a look at an early sketch of the proposed hospital during their October meeting.

In an October school board work session, a representative for Valley Health said that the hospital system would submit a rezoning application for the hospital in November, following the school board’s decision.

During that work session, Warren County Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher said that the district did not have any use for the land that they are now giving to Valley Health.

“One of the questions that we kind of asked right away was, is there any future use of this featured property for the school system, being on the other side of the boat there,” Drescher said. “And there really isn’t.”

Drescher said during that October meeting that the district did not yet have any plan for using the land they are receiving near the middle school’s track and field.

“It would be a little more land…that we could do something with,” Drescher said. “Not that there’s a plan to do that.”

In addition to the land swap, the School Board agreed to grant Valley Health a sewer easement, which Valley Health intends to use to construct a public main extension for a sewer.

In his letter to the district, Baker stated that Valley Health would work with the district to determine when it would build the sewer extension.

“Minimal disruption to existing landscaping and/or infrastructure would be required, and all would be replaced to current conditions upon project completion,” Baker wrote. “If approved, [Warren Memorial Hospital] will work closely with the school to select times of construction convenient and non-disruptive to daily operations.”

The School Board also granted Valley Health a temporary easement for dealing with potential grading issues as the hospital system builds a driveway for the new hospital. Melody Sheppard, assistant superintendent for Warren County Public Schools, said it was unclear whether Valley Health would need this easement.

“They want to get the easement just in case,” Sheppard said.