By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
Though winter continues to hold Cass County in its icy grip, Virginia’s new school construction project is moving into the home stretch in anticipation welcoming students and teachers for classes in a little more than seven months.
Meeting in special session on Jan. 8, Virginia School Board members considered such final details as flooring, furniture and the new playground.
Rather than building the playground on the same level as the school, the board agreed the new playground will be about 6.6 feet lower than the school, putting it level with the football field. This will minimize the impact of the noise of children at play on classes that are in session. Architect Joe Petty of J.H. Petty & Associates assured board members the playground will be handicapped accessible.
In a move to keep costs under tight control, the board also advised Petty the playground will not have lights. Since the school does not have evening sessions, lighting is considered unnecessary.
Petty also advised the board that RFPs (requests for proposals) will be issued to various furniture suppliers within one to two weeks. The next step will be for selected suppliers to come to the school to make detailed presentations.
When the 1912 and 1938 buildings were demolished in advance of the construction project, the contractor saved the historic stone archway. The archway will be rebuilt inside the new school. The board selected a location that not only will be seen by all who use the new high school entrance, but students, staff and visitors will pass through it when entering the gymnasium. The 1892 and 1912 school building cornerstones have been preserved and will be displayed next to the archway.
Rather than use vinyl composite tile in corridors, classroom entranceways and other high traffic areas, the board is considering the use of a low maintenance nonslip epoxy coating for these floors. The epoxy coating is available in a variety of colors. If the board elects to use epoxy, it still must decide between the standard coating and thicker deluxe coating. The cost difference between the two is about $80,000 which prompted board President Matt Werner to express his support for the lower cost option.
The board also plans to meet with Virginia Mayor Steve Sudbrink and city council members to discuss two street projects: Morgan Street from Illini Street to the park entrance and the street from the park entrance to the loading area behind the school. Previous estimates for the reconstruction of both streets have averaged nearly $183,000.
The board’s next regular meeting has been moved from Jan. 20, which is Martin Luther King Day, to Jan. 21. The session will begin at the regular time, 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia City Hall.