The Montgomery County School Board approved a resolution requesting capital construction funds from the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors for two area high schools.
The school board debated for more than three hours Tuesday night over a resolution requesting up to $124 million in funding to build a new Blacksburg High School along with a new Auburn High School and renovate the current AHS building to become a new Auburn Middle School.
The county has dealt with the issue of funding school construction since BHS’s gym collapsed on Feb. 13. AHS and AMS were the next schools in line for renovation in the 2006 capital plan, and there has been outcry from the community in Riner as the county debated whether to continue with that plan. AHS was built in 1936.
The school board has already engaged in discussion with the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors over how much money would be necessary to carry out construction on three schools simultaneously and where that money would come from.
At the school board’s Aug. 17 meeting, it drafted a resolution for the board of supervisors.
On Aug. 30, the school board held a joint meetng with the board of supervisors, where concerns over tax and loan rates dominated the discussion.
Tuesday night, Superintendent Brenda Blackburn requested another vote on the resolution, in order to begin acting on it. The board voted 6-2 to approve the resolution and send it forward.
Blackburn also said at this time there has been no further construction or renovation at the old BHS facility.
“We have taken no additional action on the facility pending outcomes of conversations whether there is funding to build a new Blacksburg High School,” Blackburn said.
Although the long-term issues surrounding BHS have not yet been resolved, current school building situations experienced a “very successful” first day of school, board member Walt Shannon said.
“We did pull together enough things that everything was complete to the point we were able to open on (Aug.) 30,” he said.
Shannon said there are still some traffic issues that need to be resolved on Prices Fork Road, where about 400 high school students are now driving to what used to be Blacksburg Middle School.
“You could have a vehicle that could get in front of Kipps (Elementary School) and it could take them 15 minutes to turn into that property (new Blacksburg High School),” he said.
Middle school students are also bused to what is now BHS before being bused to what is now BMS, in Christiansburg.
“Buses still aren’t getting to middle school on time,” Shannon said. “We’re working through that and we’re working on cooperation with the Blacksburg Police Department to look at ways we can do that.”