The need for a new middle school in Augusta County is well known. But, now there are plans to put it on the back burner and focus on renovations to two high schools.
There are many factors in the decision to focus on renovations of Stuarts Draft and Wilson High School, instead of building a new middle school.
"To do that while we still have needs," said Tracey Pyles Chairman of Augusta County Board of Supervisors, " teacher salaries, healthcare cost going up and the state budget being in a crunch we can't make it all fit."
Pyles says the biggest problem with a new middle school is yearly operating costs. That's why renovations for the two high schools are the way to go.
"Our board right now would have love to have the middle school open," said Dr. Gary McQuain, "it would have been open this year. Realizing that that is not going to happen we really can't afford to not go forward with those other two projects."
But, that leaves the question. What can be done to help the crowded middle schools?
Pyles says the county is willing to add on buildings to the current schools, but the school board is not happy with that.
"We've done that twice already with Stuarts Draft and Beverly Mannor," said McQuain, "I think if it is what we need to do in order to make it work, it's something we will have to consider. But, I don't think our school board at this point wants to build on to the schools."
Pyles believes it is the best thing, because he sees a trend of less students coming up in lower grades in the next three years.
"When you look at the key age group for having children be it 20 to 35 years olds," said Pyles, "we lost in numbers there in the past 10 to 20 years."