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The county school board OK’d funding Thursday for feasibility studies of the potential locations.
Friday, May 10, 2013
BEDFORD — The Bedford County School Board will look at two sites to construct a new middle school in the Liberty Zone as the result of action taken Thursday night.
The board unanimously approved funding for studies of a site off Wheatland Road near the Bedford Area Family YMCA and for a yet-to-be identified site near Liberty High School, off Virginia 122.
The Wheatland Road site, located south of U.S. 460, is owned by developer George Aznavorian, who has offered to donate between 35 to 40 acres for the school.
The board approved $19,400 for the feasibility study of that site, which will be conducted by the Lynchburg-based architectural and engineering firm of Wiley/Wilson; the second study, which will look at property located near Liberty High , will cost $12,000.
The Wiley/Wilson studies will look at the feasibility of constructing a middle school for 800 students on the sites — evaluating the availability of utilities, what highway improvements Virginia Department of Transportation could require, zoning issues and a general grading plan that would be needed to make the property usable. Potential layouts of the school facilities will be included in the study.
The studies should be completed in 60 days for review by the school board.
During a work session held Tuesday, the board discussed a variety of options for construction of the new middle school, including building a new high school and using the current Liberty High facility as a middle school. A public hearing held prior to that meeting allowed for public comments on an earlier feasibility study that looked at building the new middle school on the current Liberty High property, adjacent to the high school.
Board members distanced themselves from that option Tuesday because they didn’t believe there would be enough room for both schools at the high school site.
Construction of a new middle school has been estimated to cost between $30 million and $40 million for a school built for 700 students. The board opted to look at a larger school for now, noting that the plans could always be scaled back.
As part of the city of Bedford’s reversion to a town, Bedford County agreed to build a new middle school in the Liberty Zone to replace Bedford Middle School. Because of its size, Bedford Middle is the only middle school in the district that doesn’t have all of the sixth graders in that zone at its school.
The new school is tentatively planned to open in August 2016.
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