- Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:23
- Published on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:23
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Colonial Beach Middle School students need a new place to study. Damage to the middle school building, resulting from years of neglected maintenance and facilitated by the recent storms, warrant the removal of students as soon as possible.
“What’s looming, what’s been mentioned, is that we need a new school!” Superintendent Donna Power informed Tim Trivett, Colonial Beach School Board chairman, and board members Mike Looney and Vicki Roberson at a special School
Board meeting last week on Sept. 29.
“Are we talking about simply a mod pod unit behind the high school, are we talking about a new facility of just the middle school, or should we really expand our horizons and talk about a Pre-K-12 School?” Power asked.
The town is onboard with the last option and has considered using the high school for a government center if it becomes available, according to Power.
“Although the children are not in any immediate danger, the inconvenience to the children disrupts learning,” Power said.
Power proposed a contingency plan that would redistribute students on the elementary/middle school campus while repairs were performed, but the three School Board members present agreed moving them out then back would be disruptive and repairs may be too costly.
Power told the board that all preliminary reports indicate that repairing the old building would be of significant cost to the school system and that new construction would take at least two to three years.
In light of these facts, board members present at the meeting felt that pursuing a mod pod on a temporary basis until a new pre-K-12 school can be built is the best option.
The Sept. 29 discussions revealed that Building Inspector Dexter Monroe, School Board officials and FEMA all share Power’s concerns for removing the children from the middle school building as soon as possible.
About 150 middle school students have had to use the elementary bathrooms in the neighboring mod pod since recent storms caused a partial ceiling collapse in both the boys and girls bathrooms in the 100-year-old building.
Upon inspection other leaks have been found and structural issues have been discovered with the second story roof.
“That building was built solid, but unfortunately it has issues because it is 100 years old,” said Trivett, who was present earlier in the day for a second inspection with officials from FEMA, Colonial Beach Building and Zoning Director Gary Mitchell, Power and Monroe.
No asbestos has been found, but an inspection revealed lead-based paint is present in the building. The paint poses no health risk unless disturbed during removal or repairs.