By Aila Boyd
Botetourt County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Chen reviewed the division’s proposed fiscal year 2021-fiscal year 2025 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during the School Board’s February meeting.
“A capital improvement plan is different from the operating budget. We have really been on a deferred maintenance plan as opposed to being really proactive,” Chen said. “The goal of a CIP plan is to really take a hard look at our needs and to lay it all out there.”
Chen explained that Ben Irvin, director of operations, Chris Morris, operations manager, Brenda Bartee, budget and finance senior specialist, and Brandon Lee, supervisor of business and finance, were instrumental in creating the plan.
“These numbers are rather large, but I believe that we have needed these for a while. We’re just going to put it out there and see what happens,” Chen said.
The plan comes to a total of $21,828,440.
The plan broken down by categories:
- Colonial Elementary—$421,640
- Building Envelope—$4,327,000
- Building Interior—$1,125,000
- MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)—$4,055,800
- Safety and Security—$3,005,000
Some of the high-dollar items include: 46 buses ($4,370,000), track replacement ($1,290,000), roof replacement ($1,920,000), and vestibule construction ($1,622,000).
Irvin noted that there were no home track events at either high school in the county because of the state of the tracks. The track at James River High School, he said, is the worst, but added that the one at Read Mountain Middle School is in bad condition as well. The track at James River will be replaced this year. “They’re excited, but it’s much needed,” he said. “Because they were not maintained because they should have been, we have to go all the way down to gravel. This is the fallout of deferred maintenance.” He added that he’s hopeful that once the tracks are replaced, a maintenance plan can be established in order to keep them in good condition.
Chen said that the construction of vestibules is to ensure that the schools that don’t currently have them are safe. The goal is to install machines that will keep a record of who is coming and going from the schools in the vestibules, which will replace the guest sign-in binders that are kept in the front offices of the schools.
The plan is broken down by years:
- Fiscal year 2021—$3,375,640
- Fiscal year 2022—$5,209,000
- Fiscal year 2023—$4,613,800
- Fiscal year 2024—$2,956,000
- Fiscal year 2025—$5,674,000
“I will have to say that this number is shocking for people who have not seen it before. But where I’ve been before this is scrubbing down pretty hard. It’s a normal capital improvement plan, so this number doesn’t phase me,” she said. “We wanted to lay out what we think the five years could before the CIP Plan so that we can become more proactive instead of reactive.”
Chen also reviewed the expenditures for needed items for fiscal year 2020, which totaled $1,263,138. The expenditures included: tuition reimbursement, Chromebooks for Central Academy Middle School and Read Mountain Middle School, James River High School track, drainage to fix the James River High School track, transportation audit from Tyler Technologies, School Board approved increase for employee, School Board approved amount to hire a retired principal to assist at Colonial Elementary School, invoice for Dr. Larry Massie’s audit on the Central Office, invoice on Evergreen audit on administrator salary pay scale plan, three Read Mountain Middle School chillers, James River High School bathrooms, Cloverdale Elementary School locks, 3G to 4G conversion of bus radios, bus cameras, Buchanan Elementary School roof coating, and Lord Botetourt High School roof coating.