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August 26, 2016

Middle school committee meets for first time

Advisory Committee
• Purpose: Make recommendations for potential renovation and/or replacement of Taylor and Warrenton middle schools, both in need of repair.

• Members: 47 citizens, public officials, school staffers and students.

• Estimated costs:

• Taylor Middle: $27.5 million for renovation and expansion; $33.6 million for a new school.

• Warrenton Middle: $23.4 million for renovation and expansion; $33.6 million for a new school.

• Facilitator: David Sturtz, a project leader with DeJong-Richter.

• Location: Fauquier High School cafeteria.

• Next: Community meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7.

• Advisory committee meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.

• School board special meeting with contractor, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5.

• Advisory committee meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27.

• Community dialogue meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9.

• Website: Click here.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Committee members from all walks of life met for the first time Thursday night to begin discussing Fauquier’s aging middle schools, Taylor and Warrenton.

About 40 members of the Middle School Modernization Advisory Committee attended the four-hour meeting.

The inaugural session focused on broad topics, such as how students should be situated in a school, the teacher’s role and key design characteristics.

Committee members listed open space, natural light, flexible furniture and classrooms, more access to technology and more common areas as priorities.

Working in six small groups, they also helped refine a questionnaire that will go out to community members in September.

Committee member Jon Nuckles describes himself as a “concerned citizen.”

Although he no child in the school system yet, Mr. Nuckles believes administrators and consultants “are certainly trying to get an idea of what the community wants. It feels as though they are interested in the community and what their desires are.”

Liberty High School junior Madison Humphries said, “I think it’s great to see people care.”

The 16-year-old attended Cedar Lee Middle, but she had friends who went to Taylor.

“I think it’s nice that Taylor might get fixed up,” Madison said. “I would hate to see one school have an advantage over others based on its condition.”

She could foresee two new middle schools “that are more modern and blend with the times.”

Joyce D’Urso, a retired Taylor Middle School teacher, said she found it encouraging that committee members from all parts of the community attended and had interest in the topic.

“As a former teacher, we sometimes don’t meet people at this level,” Ms. D’Urso said.

Over the next three months, the committee and citizens will have opportunities to make suggestions on whether to focus on Taylor or Warrenton.

DeJong-Richter and RRMM, a school architectural design firm, will lead the planning process under a $137,805 contract.

School administrators in November recommended focusing on Taylor Middle, built as the high school for black students in 1952, during segregation.

The estimated costs for Taylor would range from $27.5 million for renovation and expansion to $33.6 million for a new school.

It would cost an estimated $23.4 million to renovate and expand Warrenton Middle School or $33.6 million to replace it. The county’s oldest school, Warrenton dates to 1936 and stands on 18 acres along Waterloo Street.

The first community meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Fauquier High School.

During the community meeting, citizens will discuss their concerns and ideas for the middle schools in small groups.

Advisory committee members also will attend that session.

Citizens will take a survey as a group and individually at the end of the meeting.

The survey will be available online after the meeting for one week.

This winter the school board will receive the committee’s recommendations for Taylor and Warrenton. The board would need funding from the county supervisors to undertake any renovation or construction.

For more information on the modernization project, click here.

Parents, teachers, students, administrators and community members who have volunteered or who got appointed to serve on the advisory committee are:

• Earsaline Anderson
• Carol Arnold
• Barbara Bannister
• Rachel Beattie
• Greg Bengton
• Angela Castaldy
• Blair Conner
• Randy Corpening
• Christopher Coutts
• Tony Dandrea
• Joanne Duncan
• Joyce D’Urso
• Sarah Frye
• Thelma Gaskins
• Brian Gorg
• Chris Granger
• Donna Grove
• Donna Guzman
• Laura Henson
• Laura Hoover
• Madison Humphries
• Michele James
• Wes Kennedy
• Bob Kravetz
• Ben Maas
• Susan Maharidge
• Mark Marchinetti
• Mary Leigh McDaniel
• Erin Meadows
• Larry Miller
• Leah Morton
• Sally Murray
• Sam Myers
• Ruth Nelson
• Jon Nuckles
• Mark Otts
• Jessica Polak
• Nicole Polster
• Conway Porter
• Nancy Premen
• Brandie Schaeffer
• Robby Settle
• Stephen Starner
• Walter Story
• John Toler
• Melissa Wiedenfeld
• Becky Yates
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