Upgrades Coming to Albemarle Schools over the Summer

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It's the last day of school for students in Albemarle County, and already there are plans for a number of improvement projects over the summer. The upgrades will include new roofing and general maintenance, and even a major renovation at one high school. 

There will be general improvements at all schools , but the most significant work is happening at Murray High School.

Murray High School teacher Susan Mortell packed up her classroom on Wednesday. It means saying goodbye to the trailer she has taught in for six years - but she's not shedding any tears. Her classroom will soon be moved inside the building.

"For one thing, we'll be closer together, and so when we need to exchange information it's not going to be a yell across the grass to another trailer," said Mortell.

Albemarle County is moving forward with its summer renovation project at Murray - to move its four outdoor classrooms inside the building.

"The school board has made a big push on moving children out of trailers and this is to promote their policy," said Joe Letteri, director of building services.

Crews have already started gutting parts of Murray.

The $500,000 renovation is just one of several upgrades planned for schools, including an expansion to Agnor Hurt Elementary - adding seven classrooms by 2015.

"The division is a very dynamic place. We're always adding students and there are some demographic shifts, so it's important to keep the buildings modern and efficient," said Phil Giaramita, spokesperson for Albemarle County Public Schools.

Construction isn't expected to get underway at Agnor Hurt until next year. Roof replacements and new air-conditioning systems are other project upgrades happening this summer.

"Last year we were able to cut almost $100,000 out of our operating budget because of the efforts we've made over the years," said Letteri.    

The county is spending around $3 million for improvements. The entire summer construction plan will be presented to the school board at its meeting Thursday.

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