A grassy lot situated in the back of the new school’s new administrative facility was among the items discussed by the Patrick County School Board on Oct. 13.
Sean Adkins, director of Economic Development, asked the school board to use a grassy area behind its new facility. The area is needed, he said, because the downstairs area of the developing Business Development Center (BDC) will be a dedicated daycare/childcare area.
“In doing the application process, we’re learning all the licensure and regulation requirements, and we learned we’re going to need 75 square feet of space per child,” he said.
Adkins said this means the L-shaped grass area behind the BDC building is not enough space for the project to continue.
“Obviously, we can’t do it without an outdoor space. Throughout this process the most obvious option, in fact like the really only option, is the green space behind the new school board building. Right across the street” from the center, he said.
Depending on the number of students accommodated at the center, Adkins estimates 4,000-5000 square feet would be needed.
“For a desert, we have 90-some odd licensed childcare spots in the county right now out of 872 school-aged kids. So, I think the need is obvious,” he said.
Adkins said those he has talked to are more excited about the childcare center than the BDC upstairs.
“Truth be told it can’t happen without that green space because we can’t take them really anywhere else,” he said.
Adkins said there is no strict timeline for the board to decide.
“As soon as you get the opportunity … and feel comfortable with the decision,” he said.
The Economic Development Authority (EDA) has a $900,000-$1 million application for the project through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF). Adkins said the authority plans to seek funds to purchase playground and outdoor equipment for the center.
Because an emphasis is placed on affordable childcare, Adkins said he believes it will be open to all. The childcare provider will provide insurance on the grassy area if the school board elects to go along with Adkins’ proposal.
Walter Scott, of the Smith River District, asked if Adkins was going to look at closing the section of Rye Cove Road that runs between the two facilities.
Adkins said the EDA is currently looking at doing that.
Schools Superintendent Jason Wood said he can look into the division’s insurance provider and the liability of the childcare center using the grassy backlot if the board wishes.
“Our RFP (Request for Proposal) for our current building is due soon, so it may change the drawings we already have contracts on. I could get that and have a presentation for you at the next board meeting,” Wood said.
Scott said the division needs space for a parking lot for handicapped parking. “We’ve got to have so much area down there at the bottom for parking,” he added.
In other matters, the board:
*Accepted the personnel report as amended.
*Heard Wood’s report.
*Approved the consent agenda.
*Awarded 2022 Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) Academy Award Certificates to Wood; Ryan Lawson, chairman and of the Peters Creek District; Rob Martin, of the Dan River District; Scott; Amy Walker, of the Mayo River District; and Sara Leigh Collins, executive assistant and clerk to the board.
*Heard reports from the parent advisory, transportation, and facilities committees.
*Approved starting RFPS for all projects involving the one-percent sales tax.
*Amended the school bus policy to eliminate the rule stating that any field trips must be within a 125-mile distance one way.
*Approved the purchase of a second activity bus.
*Approved projects involved in capital improvement projects of approximately $1.7 million. Projects include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, running fiber cable at Patrick County High School (PCHS) upgrading the intercom systems, creating a storage bus at the bus garage, and other projects. The funds are already built into the budget and must be spent by the end of 2024.
*Recognized October as Bullying Prevention Month.
*Discussed the VSBA Conference attendance.
*Approved budget amendments to the fiscal year 2020 budget.
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