Staunton High School Gathers Input for Major Renovations

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Robert E. Lee High School Robert E. Lee High School

Things are starting to get a bit dated at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton. The school was built in the '60s, and the building hasn't kept up with the times.

As problems started adding up over the years, school leaders decided to hire a firm to study the building and make a recommendation on whether to renovate or build a new high school. Tuesday night, a public forum was held to gain input from the community.

"It's a constant battle trying to keep things functional in this building so it's safe for kids and environmentally under control for kids, and a pleasant place to be. It's hard," said Mark Rowicki, the school's principal.

Rowicki is hoping things will soon change at Lee High School. For one thing, the building is not energy-efficient.

"There's no sealing in there and there's nothing they can do to make it sealed. That's just the way it was built back in 1967. It's old, the building needs a lot of work," he said.

The same goes for the windows.

"If I close the window, you still got a gap right here for the wind to blow through and if you stand, for example, in the cafeteria on a windy day, the windows are closed but you can still feel the wind coming through. And it's cold," Rowicki said.

Not to mention the poor air control.

"In the wintertime, it'll roast you because it just constantly comes out. It's at a set temperature and in the summertime likewise - when the A/C is working, it'll freeze you out so it's got to constantly turn it on and off."

The walls keep leaking, teachers don't have enough outlets in the classrooms, and for most sports, the kids have to practice and compete off-campus.

Superintendent Linda Reviea says the upcoming facilities study is the time to consider modernizing the school.

"We aren't rushing forward to just say automatically do X, Y, Z; we're saying let's talk to the community, let's talk to our teachers, let's talk to our students and our parents, and give them an opportunity to say, you know, ‘what do you see as parts of the current Robert E. Lee that you'd want to preserve? What are some things that you think absolutely need to be changed?'" Reviea said.

That facility study will take about six months to complete. If you missed the meeting Tuesday night, school leaders are still looking for input. They say they'll post an online survey in the next day or two on the website for Staunton City Schools.