Date of hearing on middle school location to be changed

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By Tom Wilmoth

    The Bedford County School Board is considering two dates—May 7 or April 30—to reschedule a public hearing to discuss the location for constructing a new middle school in the Liberty Zone.
    Originally slated for May 2, the meeting date has to be changed because of a scheduling conflict.
    The school board recently received a report on the feasibility of building the middle school adjacent to the current Liberty High School. The price tag ranged from $28 million to $32 million with additional costs being incurred to replace any sports fields that would be lost because of the construction.
    The board is also considering a piece of property that has reportedly been offered as a donation for the new middle school in the Thaxton area off of US 460.
    In action at Thursday's meeting the school board:
    • voted to approve the purchase of new textbooks in English and science. The purchases, at a price tag of about $1.4 million will take place over a five to seven year time period, focusing on elementary and middle school purchases, delaying purchases for the secondary level while a pilot program utilizing digital textbooks is evaluated.
    • heard a report on the number of Big Island students entering the sixth grade next year requesting zone transfers to allow them to attend Bedford Middle School. So far four of the projected 20 sixth grades from BIES have made that request. None of the requests had yet been approved and there was a fear that a majority of the BI sixth graders would seek a transfer, leaving the remaining students without enough students for their own class.