Letter: Questions building school on new site
It would seem the Gloucester School Board, against the recommendation of the Board of Supervisors and against the protests of numerous residents, has chosen to construct a replacement of the previously destroyed Page Middle School on a new undeveloped site. In doing so, they intend to decrease the size of the gym and the auditorium. The new site is known to hold water and is adjacent to wetlands. Soil studies and existing site topography will increase the cost of design and construction. Construction erosion and silt control, clearing and initial drainage will be complex and costly. Permanent sediment and storm management control systems will likely be costly to construct and maintain. The building footer will likely cost more on this site. Site topography will likely require a significant amount of fill material which will be very costly. Construction of underground utility infrastructure, i.e., storm sewer, sanitary sewer, drinking, fire control and irrigation water, electricity, gas, communications, etc., will be costly. VDOT school zone improvements and requirements will be extensive and costly.
The existing site is on proven ground. It is sufficient for a middle school campus and the school’s transportation division which, though in need of renovation, now occupies part of the site. This site will be less weather-dependent during construction. There is no clearing cost and the destroyed building has been removed. Site development will cost significantly less as there are existing sports fields with room for other outdoor activity areas. Existing site location, existing utility infrastructure, topography and access will lessen overall construction costs substantially. The amount of required select fill material will be significantly less on this site. VDOT school zone improvements and requirements are already established.
The Gloucester School Board, at its Sept. 11 meeting, gave notice of its intent to move the school transportation division to a new facility at an undetermined site. Their decisions are not financially sound and give the appearance of intentionally vacating the existing developed school property with no future plans for the property publicized. Concerned residents and students should contact the Gloucester School Board or the Virginia Department of Education.
Kenneth E. Hogge Sr.
Retired Construction Superintendent