School Board: Buildings Assessment ‘Imperative’ for WJCC Schools

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The WJCC School Board will consider whether to launch a facilities study at its meeting next week. (Ian Brickey/WYDaily)
The WJCC School Board will consider whether to launch a facilities study at its meeting next week. (Ian Brickey/WYDaily)

Administrators with Williamsburg-James City County Schools want to know how their buildings stack up.

The WJCC School Board is considering whether to launch a facilities index study, which would assess the current state of the school division’s buildings.

The study would project a 10-year timeline for the refurbishment and replacement of division buildings based on need.

Superintendent Steve Constantino added the study to the School Board’s April 21 agenda, saying conversations and comments from board members on the division’s fourth middle school and other buildings made the study a good idea.

“Last spring, maybe in the joint meeting, the general consensus among the three boards was that it was important to understand the facilities condition in a 10-year period, rather than five-year,” Constantino said.

Constantino said the study will focus on what it takes to keep school buildings operating to suit the educational needs of students. Types of buildings the division may want but does not currently have, like an aquatic center, would not be included in the report.

Senior Director for Operations Marcellus Snipes said the division had done similar studies on a smaller scale in the past. WJCC used a five-year study to craft its proposed capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, to determine which projects could not be delayed any longer. The CIP outlines major-dollar construction projects for the coming fiscal year.

Board members were unified in their support for the study, with board member Ruth Larson (Berkeley) calling it “imperative.”

Board member Elise Emanuel (City of Williamsburg) agreed.

“It’s overdue,” she said.

Board members Kyra Cook (City of Williamsburg), Heather Cordasco (Roberts) and Larson said an additional study focused on identifying future needs would also be worth exploring.

Emanuel said the studied could be helpful for the division’s funding partners in James City County and Williamsburg by providing a long-range plan of the division’s construction needs.

The two localities combine to provide a majority of the school division’s operating budget and capital improvement dollars.

The School Board will vote at its April 21 meeting on whether to approve the 10-year facilities index study.