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proposals would require one or more of the current sports fields at LHS to be relocated, if that site is chosen.
In addition to discussing the study, the school board will also hold a public hearing on the 2013-2014 budget for Bedford County Public Schools. Action items include a vote on a revised elementary school redistricting proposal for the Forest Zone as well as updates to the school system’s zone transfer policy. The school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Bedford Science and Technology Center auditorium.
The board will also consider what to do with $655,000 in carryover funds from the 2011-2012 school year. The recommendation is to place the funds in the school system’s self-funded health fund.
Building a new middle school
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 city. The longer it takes for the school to be constructed, the more the county will have to pay to the city for using the facility.
Wiley & Wilson looked at the possibilities of constructing a new facility for 700 middle school students.
The existing school property, where Liberty High School is located, has about 40 acres with frontage on both Big Island Highway and Centerville Road. The minimum size for the new middle school, according to Virginia Department of Education guidelines, is 150,000 square feet. Construction alternatives re-viewed include:
• The addition of a new middle school building in the area east of the existing LHS auditorium, and south of the gymnasium, on the portion of the LHS property currently occupied by the baseball field. This alternative would also include construction of a new gymnasium on the north side of the campus, where the current softball field is. The middle school, under this alternative, would use the current gymnasium and the middle school could also have access to the LHS auditorium. There is also the possibility that some classroom space could be shared with the high school. This alternative would mean that the sports fields affected by the construction, along with the tennis courts, would have to be relocated off site. The price tag for this alternative is estimated from $36 million to $40 million, not including the cost to relocate the fields.
• The addition of a new middle school building northeast of the existing LHS shop building and would require the relocation of the existing softball and soccer fields. Because this proposal would have the new building on the opposite side of the high school campus from the existing high school gymnasium and auditorium, the new building would have to include construction of a middle school gym. It would also have to include band and chorus rooms, since it is anticipated the middle school wouldn’t be able to utilize the auditorium for regular classes. The cost of this alternative is estimated between $28 million and $32 million, not including the cost to relocate the sports fields to an off-site location.
• The addition of a new middle school building towards the northwest corner of the high school property, north of the existing football field. This option would require the relocation of the existing softball field. Like the second alternative, it would require the new school to have its own gymnasium and band and chorus rooms. This site would also carry an expected price tag of $28 million to $32 million, not including the relocation of the softball field.