BOWLING GREEN—Back in the 1970s, architects didn’t have to plan schools in Central Virginia with child abductors and shootings in mind, and that’s why Madison Elementary School needs to be brought up to date.
That was the statement that Caroline School Superintendent Greg Killough made to the Bowling Green Town Council on Thursday night while seeking support for a $26.3 million bond referendum. Killough asked councilors to tell Caroline residents about the need for the county to upgrade and expand Caroline High School and Madison Elementary.
The Town Council adopted a resolution in support of the bond referendum that’s going on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Killough also noted that trailers serving as classrooms at Madison are 35 years old. The playground is by the side of the road and needs to be moved to the back of the school to make it safer. Anyone going to Madison for the first time might get confused as to where the entrance is located because trailers block the view of the entrance.
Upgrades to Bowling Green Elementary School are nearly complete and the school looks impressive and features “one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve seen,” Killough said. “Madison kids deserve the same as Bowling Green Elementary and Lewis and Clark Elementary.”
Killough also noted that Caroline has an additional 147 students this school year. CHS has 1,100 students and could have 1,400 within two years. A study done by the Blacksburg architectural and engineering firm of OWPR found that the high school’s water system needs to be upgraded.
“The science labs are extremely outdated,” the superintendent said. “If the HVAC (heating and cooling system) breaks down, many parts of the system are no longer available. The roof needs to be replaced.”
The electrical system dates back to the mid 1970s. Some classrooms have a total of two electrical outlets—one in the front of the class and one in the back. Yet, some classrooms have 30 computers.
“This project is past due,” Killough told the council.
For the high school, $21 million is needed for making the upgrades and expansion. Madison needs $4 million.
Mayor David Storke told the council, “These schools are absolutely in dire need of an update. The bathrooms at the front office (of CHS) are just horrendous.”
Councilor Glenn McDearmon asked about the timeline, and Killough said that if the bond passes, bids could possibly be approved in time for a contractor to be on site by April or May of 2014. Work would go through the summer of 2014 and continue through the summer of 2015. Madison would be on a similar timeline of two to two and a half years.
Killough noted that state law prohibits a school system from using taxpayer dollars to promote a school bond. Individuals can use their own money to promote the bond.
He also noted that the schools have a top-notch Internet connection that’s composed of fiber-optics. “All of our schools are connected by fiber,” he added.
The mayor said some residents of the county may say, “I don’t have children. Why should I have to pay” for school upgrades? But the mayor said those residents should consider all the events at schools that benefit the community. He noted that if there is ever a nuclear accident, then CHS and Caroline Middle School are designated shelters.
Proposed new additions and renovation for Madison would include: construct a new secure entrance with an expanded lobby into the school, expand the cafeteria dining area, add four new classrooms, two new computer labs, a new media center, construct a new paved bus drop off/pick up area, pave the parking lot and cap the school capacity at 550.
Renovation plans for CHS include: replace the roof system, replacement windows, renovate the old library into classrooms, renovate the old administration area into classrooms, replace the entire HVAC system, replace all lighting, replace the entire suspended tile ceiling, new electrical service upgrades as required, new intercom/communications system, new paint throughout, locker room and restroom renovation/plumbing upgrades and new light and sound system for the auditorium. Renovations would cost $11 million.
Building additions at CHS would include: a new entrance and administration area, a new media center (library), new 14,000 square foot gymnasium, new classrooms and three new vocational labs. The school will get a net gain of 16 new classrooms.
Plans call for these athletic facility improvements: upgrade bleachers, re-surface the asphalt track, relocate the long/high jump, restroom facility renovation, expand and renovate the field house and upgrade the athletic fields.