Officials say capital improvements needed for safety and to extend life of buildings
By Debbie Hall
Concerns for student safety and a need to extend the life of county school buildings prompted Patrick County Schools Superintendent William Sroufe to say on Monday that he intends to seek resolutions from the county and apply for a $1.2 million Literary Fund Loan.
The county resolutions are needed before the school division can move forward in applying to the state program for a low-interest loan.
The loan is needed to make necessary repairs and upgrades to school buildings, according to Sroufe and Assistant Superintendent Dean Gilbert, who presented a list of capital improvement projects Monday during a liaison budget committee meeting with county officials that included Rickie Fulcher, county supervisor for the Peters Creek District, and Roger Hayden, supervisor for the Dan River District.
If the resolutions are forthcoming, the loan process should take two years to complete, Sroufe said. He added that earlier literary loans made to the division under the program will be paid by May 2020. That results in a savings of nearly $80,000 per year, he said. If officials agree that the school division should pursue the proposed new loan, Sroufe estimated those payments at $24,209 per year.
Hayden said the loan will likely be “a hard sell to the public.” Referring to the recent county audit, Hayden noted the county currently has the highest debt-per-capita among localities in the state.
“But by the same token, we have to keep our facilities” maintained and provide for student safety, Fulcher said.
Meadows of Dan Elementary School, which was rebuilt after a fire, is the newest facility in the county, Sroufe said. Next on the list is Patrick County High School, which was built in 1970. All other school buildings are older, he said, and he estimated the repairs/upgrades will extend building use by an additional 70-80 years.
Projects at Blue Ridge Elementary School include installing a fire alarm system from the main building to the gym, constructing a covered bus unloading area, renovating floors in the special education room and hallway, and renovating bathrooms in the gym. The estimated cost of completing the projects is $106,450.
An estimated $177,200 would be earmarked for projects at Hardin Reynolds Memorial School, which include replacing lighting, windows and bleachers in the gym; repaving parking lots; replacing a crumbling sidewalk near the cafeteria; remodeling and painting the back part of the old school; and fixing a settling issue in the fourth-grade classroom.
Projects at Patrick Springs Primary School total an estimated $113,000, and include replacing a heat pump; repairing drain pipes from the cafeteria to the exterior; and replacing gutters, roofing and decaying boards around the cafeteria and second-grade hallway.
At Stuart Elementary School, projects include expanding the bathroom and door in the nurse’s office to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), replacing glass doors from the old main entrance, replacing two rusted metal door frames, and repairing plaster cracks throughout the school for a total estimated cost of $72,000.
Among projects at Woolwine Elementary School are replacing covered walkway lights, repairing/remodeling the #2 well, replacing windows and doors to the boiler room and back part of the gym, replacing two old HVAC units, and renovating the gym bathrooms for a total projected cost of $88,700.
Patrick County High School’s list of proposed projects total an estimated $496,250, and include remodeling bathrooms, replacing lights under all overhangs (bus and exits), installing heating and air systems to three shop rooms, constructing a fireproof vault in the guidance office, updating the honors biology room with a vent system, renovating all lockers and physical education rooms, and repairing the culinary arts roof.
Projects at Meadows of Dan Elementary total a projected $26,500, and include redoing the freezer room to provide better ventilation, providing ventilation for the dishwasher room, repairing the loading dock, remodeling the hallway from the cafeteria to the school, and constructing a covering for heat pumps on the back side of the building.
In addition, repairs/upgrades totaling an estimated $275,500 are needed in the maintenance, food service, technology and transportation areas of the division.
The project list also will be presented to the Patrick County Board of Supervisors at its March 13 meeting, along with Sroufe’s request for a resolution to proceed with the loan process.