November 7, 2017
Board will seek design proposals for new school
The school board wants a new building to replace Taylor Middle (above), built in 1951, and Warernton Middle, built in 1934.
It’s hard for me to support this. This is the same or similar to the motion we already made. But, it’s probably worthwhile to see what we’ll get back. If we don’t move, we’re stuck in a quagmire.
— School board Chairman Brian Gorg
Two Aging Schools
> Taylor Middle
• Where: 350 E. Shirley Ave.
• Built: 1951, with addition in 1981.
• Enrollment: 443
• Capacity: 547
• Building: 93,000 square feet.
• Acres: 12
• Parking spaces: 58
> Warrenton Middle
• Where: 244 Waterloo St.
• Built: 1934, with addition in 1981.
• Enrollment: 417
• Capacity: 545
• Building: 94,000 square feet.
• Acres: 18
• Parking spaces: 103
Fauquier’s school board Monday night decided to solicit bids for design of a new middle school in Warrenton.
Without setting a budget for the project, the board voted unanimously to seek proposals for a combined middle school on the Taylor campus along East Shirley Avenue. The bidders must use existing — or “prototype” — designs for 700-, 800- and 900-student building proposals.
The school would replace Taylor and Warrenton middle schools, built in 1951 and 1934, respectively.
“I’m still in favor of a new school on the Taylor site,” board member Donna Grove (Cedar Run District) said. “I don’t know what the right (enrollment) number is . . . . There’s no educational disruption on that site.”
The board of supervisors, which controls funding, offered to fund expansion and renovation of Warrenton Middle School, which stands on Waterloo Street. The school board rejected that proposal.
Renovation would require transferring Warrenton Middle students to other schools and/or using temporary classroom trailers, at an estimated cost of $2 million.
“I’m in agreement,” Duke Bland (Marshall) said in response to Ms. Grove. “It should be no less than 800 capacity.”
But, school board Chairman Brian Gorg (Center) said: “It’s hard for me to support this. This is the same or similar to the motion we already made. But, it’s probably worthwhile to see what we’ll get back.
“If we don’t move, we’re stuck in a quagmire.”
After receiving design bids from architectural and/or engineering firms in about four months, the school board will decide which one to pursue. It will then seek construction proposals.
But, the supervisors will have the final say. In March, they unanimously rejected proposals to build a new school because of its cost.
A design/bid/build process would produce a new school in about 33 months, according to Sue Monaco, the county’s procurement director.
Adapting an existing design should save time and money.
Although Mr. Gorg prefers building a new school at the Taylor site, he had hoped to look closer at the Warrenton campus.
“Based on the board of supervisors, funding available and requirements, I preferred looking at options on the Warrenton Middle School site that might make more sense,” he said. “My concern is that we don’t have the funding capacity for this” (new school).
Consulting architects earlier this year estimated it would cost $45 million to build an 800-student school, using a design “prototype,” on the Taylor campus.
Citing the cost of other county projects — including construction of a broadband network and new fire/rescue stations — the supervisors unanimously opposed that option.
The supervisors in a September letter offered to fund a $33 million expansion and renovation of Warrenton Middle School — but not construction of a replacement.
School board members slammed the unusual Sept. 14 letter that includes several requirements.
The school board has remained steadfast in its preference for new construction on the Taylor campus.
Since February, the two boards have met three times — most recently Sept. 7 — in unsuccessful attempts to reach consensus on funding a plan to address the aging middle schools in Warrenton.
School board Middle School special meeting 110617 by Fauquier Now on Scribd
Middle School Modernization procurement options by Fauquier Now on Scribd
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