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Comprehensive renovation recommended for elementary school

The Prince Edward County School Board voted to send a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to give the elementary school a comprehensive renovation.

The decision was made at the Oct. 6 School Board meeting after a previous week’s joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors.

Teachers, parents and administration have complained that the school building has roof leaks that have led to mold and other related problems. Mold-ridden classrooms are not in use this year, Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson said.

At the joint meeting, Stephen Halsey of Moseley Architects presented these issues along with several others, including outdated infrastructure, electrical and HVAC elements.

Halsey noted in particular that the roof seams are patched and overlapping from previous attempts at repair, and there are places where an entire human hand can be inserted in roofing gaps.

He offered four different options for dealing with these problems, which included simply replacing the roof, performing limited renovation, performing extensive renovation or complete replacement.

Board Chair Lucy Carson said, “Even if we don’t pick one, we’re going to have to do something to the roof now, as I understand.”

“Yes, but this is aside from that,” Johnson noted, referring to Halsey’s recommendation apart from the four options, which was to spend an estimated $30,000-$50,000 repairing the existing roof to stop current leakage and mold problems from worsening.

“I like option three,” remarked Board member Elzora Stiff. “We talked about turnaround time, and it seems if we did option three we could have a sustainable structure sooner, so I like option three.”

She further noted that Halsey also mentioned that completely replacing the existing structure would cost more money, “and if we’re thinking in terms of renovations to the high school, we could probably have some money left over or save some money with option three or option two.”

Comprehensive renovation, which in Halsey’s plans would be 40% light renovation, 30% medium renovation and 30% heavy renovation, covers 120,000 square feet and is projected to cost $28,375,000. As Halsey’s presentation noted, no off-site or road costs are included in that figure.

It would include better security, accessibility upgrades and flexible spaces. Also, spaces could be better built with instruction in mind, lighting improvements could be made and existing problems such as outdated systems fixed and upgraded.

“I think option three is good, if we can get it approved,” Board member Dr. Peter Gur said. “Option two is not enough.”

Board Member Doug Farley said he thought option three was best as well. “I think that is the one that will most meet our needs,” he said.

The recommendation will be brought before the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors.