Augusta School Board to Vote on Relocation of School Offices
The plan to move Augusta County's school offices to Verona has been on the wish list for decades, but nothing happened, in part because the estimated cost was $3.5 million. Now, staffers could make the move at a fraction of the cost.
With dozens of school construction and renovation projects to juggle, the Augusta County School Board has been reluctant to spend money on central offices. But on Wednesday, Augusta supervisors approved a plan that moves the project to the front burner.
Most of Augusta County's school offices are housed in a collection of 70-year-old buildings. Plans to move to an expanded government center in Verona have been floating around since the 1980s, and now there's a plan that includes shuffling of existing space and relocating school staffers for about $200,000.
"This seems to be the best of both worlds: a fraction of the cost, and also allows us to relocate and have our essential functions in one place," said Chuck Bishop, Augusta superintendent.
"Even though we have separate staffs, having those staffs coordinated and cross-trained... while we can do that from remote locations, so much of that is made easier if somebody's just down the hall," said Pat Coffield, Augusta County administrator.
The pupil services and instruction departments would take over space recently vacated by the state's social services. Right across the street, at the main government center, would be school finance and central administration.
Educators would leave behind the Fishersville complex, which was built during World War II as an army rehab hospital.
"There are certain areas of the building where the floor's uneven because we've had to support the floor from underneath. So it's in need of being demolished, really," said Bishop.
"That would take another budget expenditure, which we're short of right now," said Coffield.
Instead, the school offices would most likely get a third life as storage.
This plan now goes to the Augusta County School Board which will likely vote on it in one week. If the plan is given the go-ahead, it should be finished by the start of next school year.
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