CLARKE COUNTY, VA- After building the new Clarke County High School. The school board is now ready to put the old building back into use with renovations.
The school board and board of supervisors have been working on the multi-phase building renovation project. Now in phase two, the old high school is set to be renovated to accommodate elementary school students by the Fall of 2014.
"We'll be working specifically to add classrooms for K-1 students, the appropriate restrooms, and toilet facilities," says Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Murphy. "The heating and air conditioning system will be upgraded as well. The floors are going to be redone. There are a lot of exciting things ahead for K-1, two and three students in the Berryville area."
In the plans, the old Clarke County High School will re-open as the new D.G. Cooley Elementary. The old D.G. Cooley will keep it's 4th and 5th grade students until the board decides to move all grades into the newly remodeled building.
"Berryville Primary will lose its students for the first time in many, many years and we're excited about that," Murphy says. "We do hope that the building will be provisioned for adult use, so that we can eliminate some outlying structures, such as our school board office."
After the new high school was complete, $7.2 million was left in excess. The previous school board wanted to use that money to renovate all remaining schools. The new board has since determined that the remaining money will only cover renovations to the old high school.
"The concern is that this $7.2 million we thought was going to cover our needs turns out that it may not cover our needs," says David Weiss, Vice Chair of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. "This of course has financial consequences for the future."
The school board says it understands concerns about future debt, but wants to make the best plan for current students and leave the remaining buildings for future use.
The Clarke County Board of Supervisors held a public meeting about the renovations on Tuesday evening. Community members also expressed concern about water run-off the construction may bring.