- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:01
- Published on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:01
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Middle school to be closed indefinitely
This week on Tuesday evening (following our press time) a Closing Ceremony for King George Middle School is taking place.
A middle school secretary has disclosed that a video has been put together to recount some of the history of the school, which opened in 1976. She said at some point the video is expected to be buried in a time capsule on the property.
That begs the question as to how long the School Board plans the building to be in mothballs. Nobody knows the answer to that question.
According to division Superintendent Candace Brown, school board members, division officials and students and parents were invited to be present at this ceremony to officially close the school building.
The School Board decided last fall to discontinue use of the existing King George Middle School for an indefinite time beginning this summer.
They had planned to use it as an intermediate school beginning this fall to house 5th and 6th grades.
And that’s what they told the Board of Supervisors at a joint meeting on Oct. 29, 2008, when asked if it might be available for county use.
Six weeks later, the School Board voted to maintain the status quo for the current grade levels in the schools, which had the result of indefinitely postponing the plan to open the middle school building as an intermediate school or for any other use.
Instead, the 6th grades are remaining at the division’s three elementary schools and the 7th and 8th grades will be housed in the old high school to be renamed King George Middle School.
A new high school was opened in February, with students and faculty shifted to the new building at that time. The old high school remained empty and is undergoing some renovations in anticipation of opening this fall.
The plans to use the middle school building were scrapped due to costs.
Close to $3 million was the cost estimate for startup and operating costs for the first year of an intermediate school in that existing middle school building.
$1,282,506 was estimated for the annual, recurring costs of operations for an intermediate school to pay for administrators, faculty, guidance and support staff, along with equipment, books and supplies.
And one-time costs of $1,450,975 were estimated to replace the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC), construct a new well, purchase and install a multi-media system, and refurbish the school’s existing lecture room.
Brown had told the School Board that for years the division had been putting band aids on the HVAC system and on the well.
But a request for a new HVAC system only showed up for the first time in the current fiscal year, 2008-09, on a list of requested Capital Improvement Program (CIP) items.
And the cost of $2,225,500 for the HVAC alone in the CIP didn’t jive with the price tag of $1,450,975 presented to the School Board. A funding request to replace the middle school’s well did not appear in the CIP until the 2009-2010 request, currently under consideration by the Board of Supervisors.
Since the HVAC item was likewise carried forward to the current proposed 2009-10 request, it was questioned last week by Supervisors who studied the CIP in preparation for this week’s proposed adoption of the five-year plan for 2009-2014.
That board took a recommendation from County Administrator Travis Quesenberry to have an assessment performed to provide more accurate cost estimates for necessary renovations to the middle school building.
The School Board’s current CIP request also asks for a new $35 million middle school and a $20 million elementary school, in addition to an additional five projects not mentioned above.
Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter