The Montgomery County School Board discussed the plans for future construction at Christiansburg strand schools at its regular meeting on Tuesday. Superintendent Mark Miear spoke about the set of phases he proposed in order to make the changes to CHS and a new elementary school smooth and financially responsible.
The first phase of the plan involves renovating football and soccer field, complete with turf grounding and a rubberized track. This is a necessary investment for the school’s sports teams, Miear argued, because right now the field becomes too muddy to play on during inclement weather and a turf field would require lower maintenance.
“A lot of people look at turf as being a luxury, but it’s not a luxury anymore,” said Miear. “It is what most high schools are doing now. It makes a lot of sense for the Christiansburg community.”
The start date for this first step would be in spring or January of 2018 in order to have the field ready for football season in 2018.
The next step, called Phase 1.2, would be to build a new softball field as well. The start date for this wouldn’t be until summer 2019 and the field would be built where the current football practice field is located. However, the idea is to have the new football field already finished so that the team wouldn’t need the practice field and it would be open for the softball field construction.
An additional aspect of this project is that it would help to create a stadium setup for games. A more gated stadium would force people to have to pay to see the games, whereas with the current setup anyone can have a decent view of a game without paying.
Phase 1.3 involves building new locker rooms, concessions stands, and stadium entrance similar to the structure of the Blacksburg High School facilities. One struggle of this phase would be deciding where to place the bathrooms. Right now, players and coaches do not have a quick location to use the restroom during games and practices. With the new design, there would be bathrooms right next to the field. This is a seemingly small matter, but one that Miear stressed.
“I think the bathrooms are a reflection of the community from the time you walk into the stadium and a lot of the schools that we are playing have nice, renovated stadiums. We are just behind by this one school,” said Miear.
Phase two of the total plan is to build a new academic building, gym and elementary school starting in 2022. The seven-year construction plan would allow a budget for building the new elementary school by renovating the current high school at approximately $60 million.
The last phase would involve upgrading the current CHS facilities. This means that there will have to be a movement of students from the current building to the new building during renovation, which could cause teachers to have to share classrooms during the time of the renovation.
With the way this plan is organized, construction on the less-expensive areas, such as the stadium costing only around $4 million, and finish with the more expensive areas. The academic building would cost $40-60 million, which requires more time and planning to budget.
The new academic buildings are designed to have wide windows across the front, which will give the students and faculty a nicer view during the school day. Miear mentioned visiting other schools near the area, such as Waynesboro High School, that are going through similar renovations in order to get ideas about the process and design.
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 1.