The Patrick County School Board celebrated the opening of its new school board office with an official ribbon cutting to coincide with its November 9 meeting.
Schools Superintendent Jason Wood said the school system is very blessed to have a building that allows for staff development, situating many of its departments under one roof, and training for staff.
“Also, where we can be a blessing to the community and hopefully continue to open our doors to the county for meetings they may have. Also, for all of the events on Main Street, I think it’s a blessing that we own the parking lot so that we can help and actually be a blessing to the community,” he said.
Shannon Harrell, of the Blue Ridge District, said one of the primary reasons for the building is its purpose to serve as a showcase for the work students produce.
“Not only will students display their work in the CTE (Career and Technical Education) Marketplace daily, but art displays, science fairs, and student presentations in the large room for community members to come in and see,” she said.
While the conversation about the new building began with the need to protect the school system’s servers and renovate the technology building, Harrell said it evolved into creating a space that could also serve its students and accommodate the staff.
“To our students, this building is for you. It’s a space where your dreams are not only welcomed but celebrated. It’s a place where your hard work will be proudly displayed for all to see,” she said. “May you find inspiration inside these walls, and may you continue to strive for greatness in every endeavor you pursue. May this building be a symbol of our collective commitment to education and a source of pride for the entire community.”
Walter Scott, chairman, and of the Smith River District, said the new building was possible because of the assistance of several individuals and organizations, including former interim superintendent David Martin, several board members, Hopkins Lumber, Clark Brothers, the taxpayers, and others.
He noted this could not have been done without the taxpayers of Patrick County.
“A lot of you were very skeptical of what we were doing here. Wasting money and those kinds of things. Sales and use tax, do you all remember that one? Twenty percent of this building was paid for by sales and use tax,” he said.
Scott said the rest of the building was paid for by grants, or ‘free’ money to Patrick County.
“Without the sales and use tax, we would have never done this. That was a big player in making this happen,” he said.
Stuart Town Manager Bryce Simmons read a letter of appreciation recognizing the school division, the school board, and the staff that worked to complete the new facility.
The school board later approved turning the former school board office back over to the county.
In other matters, the board:
*Approved the personnel report as amended.
*Approved the religious exemptions.
*Read a letter from Carol Vernon about the new tennis courts at Patrick County High School (PCHS).
*Heard the superintendent’s update.
*Approved the consent agenda.
*Approved the revised budget.