Middle school hearing is May 7

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Next Tuesday, May 7, there will be a public hearing and work session held in the auditorium at Liberty High School to discuss the building site of a potential new middle school in the Liberty Zone. 
    The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. and the work session will begin after that hearing. A feasibility study conducted earlier this year on having the new middle school built alongside Liberty High School can be accessed at the school system’s Web site.
    According to the study, the cost of building a new middle school next to Liberty High School could range in price from $28 million to $40 million. The study, prepared by the architectural and engineering firm Wiley & Wilson, provides three possible alternatives for the school board to consider as it makes its decision as to where to locate the new middle school, which will be built to replace Bedford Middle School.
    The study specifically looks at whether it is feasible to locate the new middle school on the LHS site. All three proposals would require one or more of the current sport fields at LHS to be relocated, if that site is chosen.
    A site has also been proposed in the Thaxton area of the Liberty Zone.
    As part of the agreement between the city of Bedford, as it reverts to town status, Bedford County agreed to build the new middle school to replace BMS, which is not large enough to accommodate all of the sixth graders in the Liberty Zone.
    A number of sites have been looked at the past two years with the school board favoring a site as close as possible to Liberty High School. That prompted the study by Wiley & Wilson to look at what it would take to have the middle school built on the LHS site.
    Until the new school is built, the county will lease the current middle school from the town. The longer it takes for the school to be constructed, the more the county will have to pay to the town for using the facility.