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September 10, 2019

Land deal in Bealeton OK’d for middle school project

Photo/Google Earth
The school board Monday night agreed to buy the 1.5-acre lot and home just north (right) of the Cedar Lee entrance on Route 17 in Bealeton.
Photo/Long & Foster Real Estate
Built in 1965, the brick rambler at 11132 Marsh Road has three bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths. If, for some reason, the plan changes, school board members Monday night said they could resell the home and recoup their $312,500 purchase price.
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)
The decision-makers called it a critical step toward addressing Fauquier’s middle school building needs.

The school board voted, 5-0, Monday night to buy a house and 1.5 acres in Bealeton for $312,500.

That property lies along Route 17 in front of Cedar Lee Middle School, slated for expansion as part of the building renovation plan that the board and county supervisors agreed upon earlier this year.

If all goes according to plan, Cedar Lee would expand to keep more middle school students closer to their homes and to reduce the number enrolled at Taylor and Warrenton in the county seat.

Ultimately, the school board plans to renovate and expand one of the Warrenton schools. The other Warrenton building would get repurposed, possibly for educational use.

“This would allow us to expand the footprint of (Cedar Lee) without affecting the other facilities,” such as sports fields on the Bealeton campus, said school Executive Director for Administration and Planning David E. Graham Jr.

The property also would allow expansion of the tight bus loop and the addition of parking in front of the school, according to Mr. Graham.

“The bus area is dangerous,” board member Brian Gorg (Center District) said. “This does improve safety.”

Donna Grove (Cedar Run) called the purchase “the first stage of the middle school plan. We can fix the Warrenton school until we have some place to put students . . . . The plan at this point is to renovate one of the two schools. This is Step One.”

The plan would cost an estimated $40 million.

The Bealeton property, at 11132 Marsh Road, has been listed for sale since last October at $350,000.

But, owner June H. Grimes has accepted the school system’s offer of $37,500 less, according to the contract approved Monday night.

The contract gives the school board 45 days to complete a “feasibility study” of the property and the right to walk away from the deal. The contract also calls for completion of the sale within 75 days.

The middle school plan includes: 

• $10 million for the expansion of Cedar Lee Middle School. The project will expand the Bealeton school’s capacity by approximately 200 students. 

• $30 million for the renovation and expansion of a middle school in Warrenton. Depending on architects’ analysis, either Taylor or Warrenton will serve as the county’s central middle school. The board will discuss the options next month. 

• Renovation of the other middle school for other uses. That might include moving Southeastern Alternative School from Midland, Head Start and/or administrative offices into that building. 

• Moving the school transportation and nutrition departments, currently on Manor Drive in Warrenton, to the repurposed facility.

The plan will leave the county with four — rather than five — middle schools for Grades 6, 7 and 8. Fauquier has about 2,600 middle school students.

For almost three years, the school board and county supervisors — who control funding — have debated, sometimes heatedly, what to do about the aging structures in Warrenton.

Alumni of William C. Taylor, built as the county high school for African-American students in the early 1950s, have advocated for the building’s preservation as an educational facility.

If the school board decides to expand and renovate Warrenton Middle School, built in the 1930s, the Taylor alumni favor other educational use of the building on Shirley Avenue and a plan to honor the legacy of the man for whom the building got named.

The county’s largest middle school, Cedar Lee has about 650 students and capacity for 789. Its expansion would increase the capacity to almost 1,000. Built in 1973 and expanded most recently in 1989, Cedar Lee stands on almost 32 acres.

Buying the property at Bealeton will allow the school system to start serious planning for Cedar Lee’s expansion, Mr. Graham told the board Monday night.

If all goes well, school leaders to select an architectural firm by spring, he said.

Board members said Tuesday night that they soon will provide citizens with an update on the middle school project.

Real Estate Purchase Agreem... by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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