Architects Discuss Options for New School

By: eescobar@whsv.com Email
By: eescobar@whsv.com Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.--- The architects working on the construction of a new school in Harrisonburg presented four options to the school board on Tuesday.

The new school attempts to make room for more students in the future. According to a Weldon Cooper Center projection, the number of students from kindergarten to 12th grade is expected to increase by 16.9 percent by 2018. Currently, there are 5,131 students in K-12, that number is expected to be closer to 6,000 in 2018.

Most of the options introduced by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Architects would have construction costs of up to $44 million.

The first option would keep Thomas Harrison as a middle school and renovate it. The school board could choose between two upgrades. One of the upgrades would cost up to nearly $3.3 million. The second one could cost $4.8 million.

The second option would renovate THMS and build a new pre-kindergarten to 5th grade elementary school on an 11-acre site on Garbers Church road.

The third option would convert THMS to a pre-k to 5th elementary school. It would construct a new 900-student middle school.

Option four would convert THMS to a pre-k to 5th elementary school and build a new 1,100-student middle school.

Neighbors like Susan Dinsmore said the road is too busy and other neighbors ask the board to look into other costs before deciding.

"If they don't know the life cycle of the building to make an appropriate decision about how much they would spend on the building because what is important is the annual cost of operating and maintaining that building," said Tom Domonoske.

The architects favor option number four. This one could cost between $41 million to $44 million.

The architects will give a final presentation to the board on Feb. 18.


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