The Patrick County School Board (central) Office is preparing a move into its new home in the recently purchased property, located at 132 North Main Street in Stuart.
Schools Superintendent Jason Wood said the Patrick County School Board approved the purchase of the building that formerly held a grocery store and other businesses because the school division needs a new technology department with the capabilities of a new server room.
“Currently, the building is down where the maintenance and transportation departments are,” he said, adding the current technology department also needs upgrades. It is housed in two trailers joined together under one roof, which is leaking and risks damaging the server.
Wood believes purchasing a new building is the best financial option due to the potential cost of constructing a new building that would still be near a flood zone.
“Remodeling the trailer is not a viable option to house hundreds of thousands of dollars of tech equipment, because in today’s education, if your servers go down it’s very difficult to provide the education the students need,” he said.
In addition to housing the technology department, the new building also will house food services, the division’s finance department, and the administrative offices.
The building’s basement level has a space that will serve as a classroom for future Career and Technical programs. Wood said the building’s basement is around 1,488-square-feet, and the main level is more than 14,500-square-feet.
The school board approved the $445,000 purchase of the building at its April 14 meeting. The purchase price does not include the additional cost of updating the building to be suitable for the division’s servers. The purchase is to be finalized this month.
Wood said the purchase was made with money collected from the 1 percent sales and use tax, which was approved by referendum in 2020. It allows the school division to raise funds that can be used only for capital improvement projects or school construction/renovation.
The purchase “does not take away any funds from our normal operating budget or local real estate tax,” he said, adding that the building also was a partial donation to the school division because the final cost was an estimated $200,000 below the current market value.
Wood said he hopes the building can be used by the entire community, and noted that after the building is open, the parking lot in front will be available, which will help with Main Street parking – especially after hours or during festivals.
A future large conference room also could be available for use by other entities, he said.
Additionally, “people in the community could rent” the basement classroom space “to have trainings that they need. We’re truly looking at it as a benefit for the entire county as a facility that can be used for multiple reasons,” Wood said, adding that his goal is to have all departments moved into the new facility by next summer.
Wood said he is currently in communication with county officials to determine the best course of action for the current central office building.
“I know it’s been said that some of their departments may be out of space. So, again, that would benefit our county as a whole” if administrative offices at the county level may be able to use the current building, he said.