It all started many years ago, when a plot of land was purchased from Ferdie Chandler. For the longest time, there was a sign out by the road in this field, and it read “Future site of the new high school for Westmoreland County, VA.” Over the course of the last two years, the structure has gone up and up and up, with concrete footers, cinderblocks, bricks, glass, and so much more, a portent of things to come for students in the county’s school division. Dr. Perry, the School Board’s Superintendent, spoke on what had been completed and what remained at a facility update during last month’s meeting.
“I was told that within three weeks, all the roofs will be completed, along with all the bricks,” Dr. Perry had stated, “They will be working almost all on the inside after this.”
Given the time that has passed since the meeting and its update, it’s a safe bet that the roofs are indeed all done. A lot of progress has taken place inside, seeing as even at the time of the update, several classrooms were looking to be almost ready to have ceiling tiles installed.
“It’s beginning to look like a classroom,” Dr. Perry stated, “Very much like a classroom.”
In the hallways, the beginnings of the frame are being installed, which will hide the labyrinth of ductwork from prying eyes. Stairwells are also coming up, along with kitchen and cafeteria walls.
The new school’s auditorium, which had been a point of contention several years back between the School Board and Board of Supervisors, also got a mention during the update. At the time, Dr. Perry laid out just what sort of experience people entering it could expect when the whole thing was done.
“Think about being in Paris in a Bistro, that’s what the auditorium will be like,” he stated, “it looks good, and there will be plenty of seating in there.”
At present, the contingency fund for the new high school, which started out at $1,780,920, is currently sitting in the neighborhood of $476,000, which is likely to be used for grading out the football field so that it can be classed as a competition field.
“The more money you save in the contingency, the more you can do after everything else is done,” Dr. Perry explained, “We review every potential change order. We look at them hard. Grimm & Parker has done a fantastic job of settling or solving a lot of the issues that the contractors thought they had.”
“I have to admit I’m very encouraged that the contingency fund has been touched very little,” Dr. Wallace chimed in, “A lot of what’s listed as coming out of the contingency is not the classic things that you would consider a contingency.”
What this means is that a lot of items that had to be listed as add-ons are starting to find their way back into the project itself, such as all the inner workings of the auditorium, which was not originally in the base bid. There are several items still on the wish list, particularly the bleachers, press box, concession stand, and bathrooms that are still listed as being provided at a later date. The overall completion date of February 2022 remains unchanged.