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July 17, 2018

Closed negotiations take place on middle school

File Photo/Cassandra Brown
The school board hopes its new approach will convince the county supervisors to fund construction of a building to replace Warrenton Middle (pictured here) and Taylor Middle.
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
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Five companies remain in the running to build Fauquier’s next middle school — assuming the project gets funded.

A nine-member committee — whose members’ name remain confidential — last week interviewed representatives of the finalists. The names of those companies also remain secret.

Sixteen companies in February submitted proposals to build a new middle school, according to County Procurement Manager Susan Monaco.

Fauquier’s school system in January issued a request for proposals from architectural and engineering firms for an 800-student building, with the ability to expand to 950. 

> Documents at bottom of story

The building would replace Taylor and Warrenton middle schools, built in 1951 and 1934, respectively. It would stand on the Taylor campus along West Shirley Avenue in Warrenton.

Without setting a budget for the project, the school board in November unanimously decided to seek new proposals. That decision came after months of failing to reach an agreement with the county supervisors for funding construction of a new school.

Ms. Monaco ranked the proposals and, working with the nine-member committee, has negotiated with the highest-ranked firms.

The committee could make a recommendation in August or September to the school board, which would select a contractor.

The board has remained steadfast in its preference for new construction on the Taylor campus. 

But, the board of supervisors, which controls funding, will have the final say. A year ago, the supervisors unanimously rejected proposals to build a 1,000-seat school for $55 million and then an 800-student version for $45 million.

The supervisors cited the costs of other county projects — including construction of a broadband network and new fire/rescue stations — in rejecting the school board’s proposals.

In September, the supervisors offered a $33-million plan to renovate and expand Warrenton Middle School, which would absorb most of Taylor’s student body.

The school board rejected that offer.

Working with consultants, a 40-member committee in December 2016 recommended the consolidation of Taylor and Warrenton middle schools. The school board last January agreed to pursue a 1,000-student school on Taylor’s campus. 

But, the two elected boards met three times last year without reaching consensus on funding a plan to address the aging middle schools in Warrenton.

The school board hopes that a new proposal — possibly using a “prototype” or existing design — will produce a plan that wins the supervisors’ approval.

Middle School RFP 2018 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

Middle school RFP addition 1 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

Middle School RFP addition 2 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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Merlin1 · July 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Please do not build this on the cheap or be so lovely (like FHS) that the building is not practical. Things like an auditorium, arts section, science labs need to be included. Cedar Lee, Auburn, and Marshall do not have auditoriums. They have concerts and plays in sub-standard facilities. The science labs are a non starter but of course what was there was never maintained or stocked as needed.
FHS has the most beautiful library--only problem is that there is very little room for books (less than the old building). The classrooms in the front of the building are an open target to anyone with a gun or a weather event like a tornado.
Think people before you build these buildings!! They will be around for a long time and should make sense in 10 years, not just be beautiful or cheap.
jschum403 · July 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm
Why the secrecy of who the nine committee members are? Does the Virginia Open Meeting Law apply?

Virginia FOIA covers the meetings of "public bodies," defined as any legislative body, authority, board, bureau, commission, district or agency of the Commonwealth or of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, including cities, towns and counties, municipal councils, governing bodies of counties, school boards and planning commissions; boards of visitors of public institutions of higher education; and other organizations, corporations or agencies in the Commonwealth supported wholly or principally by public funds.
Va. Code § 2.2-3701. This definition encompasses a large number of state and local boards, commissions, and agencies, as well as the both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. It also includes committees created by a public body to perform delegated functions or to act in an advisory capacity, whether or not private individuals are members. At the state level, examples of public bodies include the State Board of Education, the State Air Pollution Control Board, the Innovative Technology Authority, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. For a representative list of state-level public bodies, see the Commonwealth Calendar. At the local level, examples include local boards of education, city councils, and county zoning boards, among many other public bodies exercising local government authority.

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