New and Improved
School construction and upgrade projects move through the pipeline
CHESTERFIELD – Almost four years after county residents approved an ambitious program of school renovations and new buildings focused mainly on eastern Chesterfield, work is underway on two new schools.
Construction of a new Beulah Elementary School started in April and is scheduled for completion a year from now, in time for the 2018-19 school year. The $31 million project will replace one of the county's oldest schools; the original school was built in 1928, and several additions have been built over the years since then.
This month, demolition started at Enon Elementary School off East Hundred Road, and groundbreaking on construction of a new school on the same site is scheduled for September. Budgeted at $31 million, the project is scheduled to be ready for students in January 2019. In the meantime, Enon is merging temporarily with the nearby Marguerite Christian Elementary.
Two projects in the Matoaca District have yet to get started. Site selection is underway for a new Matoaca Elementary, budgeted at about $34 million, with construction scheduled to start during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Plans call for three academic wings, for grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-5, with a central core housing administrative and guidance offices, kitchen, cafeteria, gym, media center and computer and art labs.
Meanwhile, according to the school system's current Capital Improvement Plan, Ettrick Elementary is scheduled for a major renovation to be undertaken during the 2020 fiscal year, with an estimate cost of around $20 million. Currently, that project is "under evaluation to refine the scope of work," according to school division officials..
In the Bermuda District, Harrowgate Elementary is scheduled for renovations projected to cost about $19 million, also scheduled for the 2020 fiscal year.
Those projects were part of a list of school renovations and replacements that county voters approved in a bond referendum in 2013. The referendum authorized the issuance of about $300 million in bonds to pay for the work, originally scheduled to take five years.
However, a meals tax was also proposed as a way to pay off the bonds. When voters rejected that provision, school and county officials came up with a plan to stretch out the work over seven years instead, to avoid having to borrow more money to see it through.
Also included in the bond referendum project list were renovations at Providence Middle and Manchester Middle. Work at Providence, budgeted at $28 million, is underway, while work at Manchester, with a current budget estimate of $43 million, is scheduled to start next year.
Not included on the referendum list but added later: a new Midlothian-area elementary school that is needed to relieve overcrowding at Watkins Elementary. Currently called Old Hundred Elementary, the project has a $34 million budget estimate and is scheduled to get underway next spring and open for the 2019-20 school year.