While it remains to be seen if Goochland voters will support a bond referendum on the ballot this November to incur a $60 million debt for a new elementary school, the Goochland School Board voted recently to sign a contract with a construction management firm to oversee the project.
On June 8, board members voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with McDonough Bolyard Peck (MBP), a Virginia-based company that specializes in building schools.
The $585,709 contract is one that school division leaders have given plenty of consideration, said Goochland County Public School Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley.
“Building a new school is not something that happens every day,” said Raley, “and we want to make sure that any work we do to build this project is representative of the community, is a school building that we can be proud of, and is a school building that represents the hard work of our tax payers and the dollars that support public education. It is critical that we get this right.”
In addition to the new elementary school at the corner of Bulldog Way and Steeplechase Parkway, the requested $60 million would be used to create a 34,000 square foot addition on the side of the county high school to be used for Career and Technical Education and STEM programs, as well as the creation of a wrestling facility and an auxiliary gymnasium.
Parking lot and bus loop improvements at the county’s high school and middle school complex would also be part of the package.
Raley noted that the new debt incurred for the project is not expected to result in a tax increase for residents.
Jim Yatzek with MBP assured those in attendance that his firm is committed to delivering an excellent new facility that will be reflective of the community.
“It is important to get this right,” Yatzek said, “so that this school can continue serving the community for the next 60-70 years.”
If all goes according to plan, said Yatzek, the school is expected to be completed by August of 2024.
Raley acknowledged that there some uncertainty will remain about the path forward until the voters decide the debt question in November, but said school leaders felt the need to begin laying the groundwork for the project as soon as possible.
“We don’t want to get too far ahead of this process,” Raley said, “but if we are to open this school [in 2024] work needs to begin behind the scenes so that we can be on time for that.”