Gloucester begins looking at long-term school needs

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Aug 10, 2011 - 05:30 PM

Gloucester County School Board members got a first look Tuesday night at possible long-term solutions to the division’s space needs in the wake of the April 16 tornado that destroyed part of Page Middle School.

A consultant presented a report during the meeting, which was held in the colonial courthouse, outlining some of the major capital improvement options identified by an ad-hoc committee of school and county officials, residents and others. The board took no vote on the matter but, at the request of member Starr Belvin, will make the construction recommendations the main focus of a work session on Aug. 25.

The top-rated option would cost more than $54 million, according to Duane Harver, a principal of RRMM Architects in Chesapeake. That option includes building a new middle school (grades 6-9) on property the schools own on T.C. Walker Road that would house 1,300 students; improvements at Gloucester High School; demolishing all of the current Page Middle School except for its gymnasium and auditorium, and building a new schools administration/operations center at Page.

However, that top-ranked option—total cost $54,141,675—does not immediately address a new high school, Harver said, and Peasley Middle School students would travel to the Walker Road site for only one year before heading to the high school. This option would make good use of existing school property, Harver said.