As the new high school continues construction, one can sense a great deal of excitement shooting through the county. This is a project that has been in the works for the last five years. Washington & Lee High School has served the county well, but it’s creaking with age and in dire need of replacement. With all of this going on, there is likely one giant question in the back of everyone’s heads, like an itch that can’t be scratched: “Who do we thank for this?” Well, the answer can’t really be any one person, now can it? This particular story, while certainly epic enough to warrant a novel, owes its projected happy ending to the efforts of a whole host of hard-working, inspiring people.
Westmoreland County’s Board of Supervisors certainly deserves a big round, as it was Chairman Darryl Fisher that tasked Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry with the creation of the new school once he had arrived. More importantly, he had to make sure the job was done right.
Perry and the School Board spent the next few years doing exactly that, finding out what those around the county wanted out of their new high school, in countless community meetings. This in turn brought in Paul Klee from the Grimm & Parker architecture firm, who have been involved ever since. The Montross Town Council and Westmoreland County Industrial Development Authority also deserve special mention, as the project could not have gone forward without their approval.
Here’s a whole host of names for people to remember when they think about the new high school: Chairman Darryl Fisher, Vice Chairman W.W. Hynson, Larry Roberson (who has since left the Board of Supervisors), Russ Culver, Dorothy Tate, Norm Risavi, Superintendent Dr. Michael Michael Perry, School Board Chairman Ralph Fallin, Vice Chairman Dr. Wallace, Board members Sandra Ramsay, Iris Lane, and Kathy Lewis,Town Manager Patricia Lewis, Montross Mayor Joseph King, Vice Mayor Terry Cosgrove, councilmen Carolyn Carlson, Bobby Greene, Kathryn Wittman, Robert Barker, Clinton Washington, former councilmen Jesse Ault, Ferdie Chandler (who also provided the plot of land), and Larry Wheaton. And that’s just the local folks.
The others deserving of a huge round of thanks for all of this? Without a doubt that would be Paul Klee and the rest of the folks down at Grimm & Parker, as well as Branch Builds, who have been contracted with the actual building.
Undoubtedly, there are probably a few names that slipped through the cracks, but the simple fact of the matter is that anybody with a connection to the county government, school board office, and town hall are all deserving of a big round of applause, as are representatives from Rural Development. This is hands down one of the largest financial risks the county has taken, and if it pays off, will undoubtedly yield rich rewards.
The Westmoreland community is like one giant family; we have proven time and time again that we are capable of whatever we put our minds and hearts to. The new high school is just one example of this. Like with any family there have been challenges and disagreements along the way, but in the end we have banded together to ensure that the kids in this community have the best education available to them. Thank you to each and every person who is continuously making this project happen. While we are not in the endzone yet, this group of amazing people will continue to work hard and show how strong this Westmoreland family truly is.