Wed04162014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Board asks to delay stadium construction

Instead, wants cash for operating budget
The King George School Board has postponed a plan for construction of a new sports stadium at the site of the new King George High School.
The decision to ask the county to postpone the building of a stadium was made by the School Board earlier this month at a meeting on March 8.
The School Board decided that the stadium could be put off for now, with the rationale of instead trying to see if they might get the project money for next year’s operating budget.
Superintendent Candace Brown conveyed the School Board’s request to postpone construction on the following day to the Planning Commission.
The School Board also agreed to postpone a request for a proposed addition to the former middle school building.

Another change was to put off roof repairs to old King George Elementary School/School Board Office, along with a few additional adjustments to the School Board’s CIP requests.
Brown introduced the discussion item noting that there were new members on the School Board who were not part of the decisions regarding the CIP request.
The School Board had previously approved its capital requests for fiscal years 2011-15 at a meeting on Nov. 16 for submission to the county.
Brown said she needed direction from the School Board that night, since she would be presenting the School Board’s CIP request the following day.  
At its March 9 meeting, the Planning Commission heard requests for the 2011-15 proposed five-year Capital Improvement Program for the county, which is updated annually.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL STADIUM POSTPONED
The School Board has been requesting a new stadium for several years with a priority of “Urgent” or “Immediate” at an estimated cost of $3 million.
The county administration is in the process of negotiating a contract for design of the stadium.  
A recent report to the Board of Supervisors in last week’s meeting packet from County Administrator Travis Quesenberry noted that the design contract is expected to be finalized by the end of this month.
Brown’s note about the stadium request in the March 8 School Board meeting packet stated, “Some of you have mentioned that rather than have the stadium, you would like the money used to help fund the 2010-11 budget.  I need to know whether or not you want this discussed with the Planning Board.”
School Board member Dennis Paulsen suggested they make it known they want the CIP money for other uses.
Brown didn’t tell the Planning Commission they wanted the capital funding diverted to the School Board operating budget.  
Instead, Brown said the School Board had made some adjustments to the priorities of its requests due to the current economy.
The Board of Supervisors has a limited amount of bond proceeds remaining from construction of the new high school. Bond proceeds cannot be shifted to fund operating budgets.
The use of bond proceeds are severely restricted to capital projects listed in the bond resolution at the time the money is borrowed.

FORMER MIDDLE SCHOOL   
The School Board has three capital projects requested for the former King George Middle School building.  
The former middle school building was ceremoniously closed by the division this past June.
The plan had previously been to use it as an intermediate school for fifth and sixth grades, but that idea was scrapped, at least for the time being.
Last fall, there was talk of using the building as an elementary school at some time in the future.
That notion resulted in the School Board’s request for an addition to the building.
And there has also been discussion about using the building to house the entire student body from Potomac Elementary School.  
That could happen if a building assessment due in July indicates the scope of renovations needed at Potomac warrants shifting students and staff out of the school building while work is performed.
In addition, the School Board has a few other use options on the table for the former middle school building.
In January, Brown proposed moving the central administration offices, along with Head Start and a special education early childhood program, from old King George Elementary School/School Board office to the former middle school.  
At the same time, she also alternatively proposed leasing most of it to an entity connected with the Dahlgren Base that had approached her for rental of 15 classrooms for an adult training program.  
The School Board is viewing that as a potential way of raising more revenue for the division.  
No decisions have yet been made about the next use of the building.
“This request was made with the intent to move students into that building,” Brown said in the meeting packet. “If we close the current Old King George Elementary School and move the Central Office and ECSE into the old middle school, do you still want to list the addition as ‘immediate’ or do you want it at all?”
The School Board responded by agreeing to postpone its request for an addition that had been requested as “Urgent.”  
The revised request is to instead hold off on the addition project until at least fiscal year 2013-14.  
While the School Board remains unclear about what the mothballed building will be used for next, they agreed to prioritize two other CIP requests to the county as “Urgent” to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) and put in a new well.
Paulsen noted: “I think the three things we have to address now. We know we are going to use the middle school for something.”
The HVAC project is currently estimated at $1.6 million, while the new well is estimated to cost $140,475.  

OLD KING GEORGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL/SCHOOL BOARD OFFICE    
The School Board also agreed to downgrade a project for roof repairs at Old King George Elementary School.  
Brown had noted in the packet: “If we close this building and move the Central Office and ECSE into the old middle school — and if the intent is to surplus the building and give it back to the Board of Supervisors, do you want to list this item as immediate or do you want it at all?”
School Board members kicked that question around for a while and finally agreed to keep the repair project on its list, but to postpone it for a few years.

PLANNING COMMISSION TO RANK PROJECTS    
Planning Commission members have been requested by staff to independently rank all the projects submitted.  
They are expected to return their rankings to the Department of Community Development this week.
Jack Green, director of Community Development, will compile the rankings and provide a draft composite ranking to the Planning Commission at its next meeting on April 13.  
At that time, commissioners are expected to review the composite rankings, make any adjustments deemed appropriate and vote to forward those priorities as a recommendation to the county administrator.  Quesenberry will subsequently provide his recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Phyllis Cook
Staff reporter

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