Groundbreaking held at new Colonial Elementary

Students from Colonial Elementary School participated in the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new school last Tuesday. Photo by Aila Boyd

By Aila Boyd

School was one of his goals when he first ran A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Tuesday at the site of the new Colonial Elementary School. Students from the school were bused in to do the ceremonial shoveling.

The new school, which is expected to open sometime next fall, is located on Murray Drive in Troutville.

“Today is definitely one of the highlights of my time on the board,” Chairman of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Billy Martin, who has represented the Blue Ridge District for nearly 12 years, said. He added that building a new Colonial Elementary was one of his campaign priorities when he ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2008. “Today is all about the people of Blue Ridge, especially the children. Our teachers and students deserve to have a nice and modern school to attend and teach at.”

Martin noted that the new Colonial Elementary School will be the first new school in the county in over a decade. “For nearly 80 years, a little bit longer than I’ve been around, the current Colonial Elementary has offered one of the best educations in the region,” he said.

The new school, Martin said, will provide teachers and students the 21st century learning environment that they will need to succeed going forward.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Martin said of the work that the Board of Supervisors, the Botetourt County School Board, and the Botetourt County Economic Development Authority has done up until this point to make the new school a reality.

Martin concluded his remarks by saying that he’s looking forward to welcoming those who were in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony back to the site for the official ribbon cutting.

Vice Chairman of the Botetourt County School Board Scott Swortzel, who represents the Blue Ridge District, said that the need for a new Colonial Elementary School was apparent to him when he first campaigned for his seat years ago.

“Years to come we’re going to forget about this day, but we’re going to always remember this building that is going to create some fantastic memories for many, many children for years to come,” Swortzel said.

Chairman of the Botetourt County Economic Development Authority John Kilby explained that the authority was charged with overseeing the negotiation of contracts and construction of the project in 2018. “We can’t wait to see the building up here and be proud of it,” Kilby said.

Superintendent of Botetourt County Public Schools Dr. Lisa Chen started her remarks by saying that she was grateful to get to be a part of the new Colonial Elementary School. “I know that a lot of hard work and a lot of members of the community came together to make this come to fruition,” she said.

Tammy Riggs, who has served as principal of Colonial Elementary School for 19 years, said that throughout her nearly two decades at the school she has watched the school’s staff come up with creative ways to best educate the school’s students. “While I’m really excited to finally be seeing the reality of this new school building, the greatness is not in our brick and mortar,” she said, adding that it’s because of the grit and dedication of the school’s staff.

The Board of Supervisors authorized the reservation of $2.5 million in additional funding for the construction of the new Colonial Elementary School during its monthly meeting in June of this year. The additional funding was recommended by the building committee for the project, which consists of John Alderson and John Williamson, after the base bids for the building construction came in significantly over pre-bid estimates.

Grading on the site is being completed by F. Clayton Plecker & Sons. Spectrum Design designed the building, which will be constructed by G&H Contracting.

The new school is expected to open sometime next fall.

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