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October 28, 2016

Middle school planning turns to consolidation

Photos/Cassandra Brown
Wes Kennedy ponders the conceptual drawing for a new, 1,000-student school near Taylor along Shirley Avenue in Warrenton.
Ben Maas and Brandie Schaeffer review the consolidated campus plan Thursday night.
I originally was not in favor of the consolidated school. But . . . in terms of cost and time, the consolidated school seems to be the most logical thing.
— Joanne Duncan, parent of Taylor student
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
For the first time in deliberations about Warrenton’s two aging middle schools, consultants Thursday night presented a scenario for consolidation.

Representatives of DeJong-Richter consulting and RRMM Architects unveiled three primary options, including a conceptual plan for a consolidated, 1,000-student building on the Taylor Middle School campus along Shirley Avenue.

For the past two months, an advisory committee and other citizens have wrestled with options for Taylor and Warrenton middle schools.

Based on the feedback so far, the consultants came up with three options:

• Build a consolidated school on the Taylor site.

• Build a consolidated school there and a 10-classroom addition at Auburn Middle near New Baltimore.

• Build two new schools on the existing campuses in Warrenton.

Document embedded at bottom of story.

The consultants have deleted a previous option that called for renovating Taylor and Warrenton.

“Generally speaking, folks were favoring new buildings,” David Sturtz, a project leader with DeJong-Richter, said Thursday night.

Last August, the architects completed detailed studies of both Warrenton buildings and recommended two new schools at a total estimated cost of $67.2 million.

The estimate has since risen to $98.1 million, in part, because of an extended timeline for replacing Warrenton Middle. For the latest Warrenton replacement concept to work, the school system would need adjacent property used for the county fleet garage. Fleet maintenance eventually will move to the county-owned “Stafford property” along Meetze Road east of Warrenton. But, the timing remains uncertain.

The historical part of Warrenton Middle School, including its library and auditorium, could be repurposed, according to the consultants. But, they included no cost estimate for such reuse.

“The process has been authentic,” said Joanne Duncan, an advisory committee member and parent of a Taylor student. “I think no decision has been made, and the school board wants to take to the board of supervisors what the public wants.

“I originally was not in favor of the consolidated school,” Ms. Duncan added. “But . . . in terms of cost and time, the consolidated school seems to be the most logical thing.”

Citizens will have an opportunity to discuss the latest options and express opinions on a survey during a meeting Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Fauquier High School. An online version of the survey also will be available Nov. 10-16.

Consultants anticipate making a final recommendation to the school board in January.

The three options:

Consolidated middle school at the Taylor site.

• Cost: $55.3 million.

• Timeline: 3 years, 11 months.

• Capacity: 1,000 students.

• Details: Taylor would be demolished and replaced with a new building behind the adjacent Warrenton Community Center, near Brumfield Elementary. The plan might include a shared bus loop with Brumfield and a separate entrance for other vehicles. Taylor’s existing site would get used for sports fields.

Consolidation plus Auburn Middle School addition

• Cost: $61 million, with $7.6 million of that for 10 more classrooms at Auburn Middle.

• Timeline: 3 years, 11 months.

• Capacity: 900 at new consolidated school and 300 more at Auburn.

• Details: The county’s second largest middle school, Auburn has 558 students and capacity for 657.

New schools to replace Taylor and Warrenton

• Cost: $98.1 million.

• Timeline: 7 years, 3 months.

• Capacity: 650 students at each new school for a total of 1,300.

• Details: Taylor probably would get built first. Warrenton would follow four years later. A new site plan for Warrenton shows two entrances from Waterloo Street.


• Community dialogue, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, Fauquier High School cafeteria.

• Advisory committee, 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, FHS cafeteria.

• Recommendation to school board possibly in January.

Middle School advisory committee meeting Oct. 27, 2016 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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