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$700,000 set aside to repair ailing schools

South Boston News
Mecklenburg County’s new Tourism Coordinator, Tina Morgan, was introduced at the Monday meeting of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. Prior to coming to Mecklenburg County, Morgan worked with Jeff Reed at Virginia Growth Alliance, a regional organization of six counties (Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Nottoway) and the City of Emporia. The Virginia Growth Alliance seeks to facilitate economic growth in the region through business recruitment, entrepreneurship development, asset development and leadership development.
SoVaNow.com / April 11, 2018
The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors agreed Monday to spend nearly $700,000 to improve ailing school facilities as members gathered for their monthly meeting in Boydton.

Of that sum, $542,000 will go toward new roof coatings for Bluestone and Park View high and middle schools. Another $97,000 will be spent to “encapsulate” floor tiles in the classrooms that contain asbestos at Chase City, Clarksville and La Crosse elementary schools, and $47,500 will pay for upgrades to the HVAC controls at South Hill Elementary School.

In an earlier meeting with members of the supervisors’ Property and Budget and Finance committees, school maintenance director Brian Dalton and Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols described ongoing problems with leaky roofs, which at times made parts of the two middle and high schools unusable.

Without immediate repairs, Dalton explained, the roofs will continue to deteriorate. Since it appears that all four buildings will be used for at least three more years – during construction of the new consolidated high and middle school campus – it is imperative these repairs take place as soon as possible, Dalton said.

The School Board received three bids and Gupton Insulation of Clarksville was low bidder at $541,665.60 for labor and materials. The work comes with a 10-year warranty. The money for the work will come from the roof fund which supervisors created several years ago.

As for the floors at Chase City, Clarksville and La Crosse elementary schools, Dalton said they are in good condition, but they are covered with asbestos tiles. He said he would like to encapsulate the flooring to eliminate the need for future abatement work by applying a sealant material that surrounds or embeds the asbestos fibers and prevents any release into the air. The estimated cost is $97,000.

The remaining $47,500 is needed to complete work being done by Trane Heating and Cooling. Dalton said his department has been working with Trane to upgrade the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system controls for all the buildings in the school division. To complete the HVAC control upgrades, additional work is needed at South Hill Elementary at an estimated cost of $47,500.

The $144,500 to encapsulate the asbestos tiles and for the HVAC control upgrades will come from the school facilities fund.

Supervisors also approved a supplemental appropriation of $52,000 for technology improvements for the school division. Nichols said the money was awarded through LINK Funding.

In other business, board members agreed to hear from the public before updating their six-year plan for roadwork in the county. The six-year plan establishes the priority for road paving projects.

The public hearing will take place during the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors on May 14.

There are currently two roads on the plan awaiting paving, Rochichi Road in Boydton and Twin Peaks Road near Chase City.

Rochichi Road will be paved this year, according to VDOT Resident Engineer Billy Smith, as will the more populated half of Twin Peaks Road from Traffic Road to the bridge crossing Blackstone Creek.

Once Rudds Creek Marina was built at the end of Rochichi Road, the amount of daily traffic on this residential road increased significantly, especially on weekends and during the summer months. The increase in traffic caused an upsurge in the amount of dust being kicked up by cars and trucks heading to and from the marina.

Jim Jennings pressed the board to find funding to pave Rochichi Road for the homeowners who were suffering from the dust and debris blown into their homes and yards.

A request was made to participate in VDOT’s (Virginia Department of Transportation) revenue sharing program. County Administrator Wayne Carter said the request was tentatively approved. As a result, VDOT will cover most of the expense to pave Rochichi Road and for paving two other roads, Propst and Old Cox Roads between Highway 92 and Ridge Road.

Paving on Propst and Old Cox will take place over the next two years.

Propst and Old Cox Roads deteriorated once heavy construction trucks and equipment began traveling the roads to and from the Microsoft facility in Boydton.

Based on traffic counts, Supervisor David Brankley recommended adding two additional roads to the six-year plan — Parrots Dead End near Chase City and Dixie Bridge Road near Brodnax, from U.S. Highway 1 to I-85. These are two of the most traveled dirt roads in the county.

Smith thanked Supervisors for not including more than a few roads on their six-year plan. He said VDOT wants to uphold its commitment to pave all roads identified on the plan within the six years and cannot guarantee they will meet that timeframe if the county places too many roads on their plan.

Vice Chair Gregg Gordon asked Smith about the process for limiting truck traffic on a road. He did not identify the specific road under consideration. Smith said, “It is a very difficult process. In my years, I’ve only seen one approved. If a citizen wants to start the process [he or she] must first get the Supervisors’ approval.”

There is an uptick in the number of companies looking to locate a plant or office in Mecklenburg County.

That news was delivered Monday by Jeff Reed, executive director of Virginia Growth Alliance, the regional economic development organization serving Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Nottoway and the City of Emporia.

Last year, Mecklenburg County’s IDA agreed to construct a 50,000 square foot shell building on a 10-acre site at the Roanoke River Regional Business Park near the Mecklenburg/Brunswick County lines.

“It’s a game-changer,” said Reed, adding that this building is one of only four of its kind available in Virginia.

Most of the companies looking at the site are traditional and high-tech manufacturing companies from Eastern Europe and Canada, according to Reed. When asked by Dan Tanner what the county can do to encourage more companies to open shop in Mecklenburg County, Reed advised to focus more on workforce development. “This isn’t a Mecklenburg problem, it’s nationwide.”

Reed said he was pleased to hear the School Board and Nichols are moving to add more CTE and trades classes back into the school curriculum. America lost its edge, he said, when the focus in education was on going to college instead of developing skilled trades people.

In the next two weeks, Reed says he plans to attend the largest manufacturing trade fair in the world. It’s being held in Germany and he said he plans to market Mecklenburg County’s shell building during his time at the show.

Three parcels of land were rezoned at the request of the owners. William and Linda York received approval to rezone two plats on Alexander Ferry Road in Palmer Springs from residential R2 to Agriculture for the purpose of keeping livestock on the property. They also plan to construct a pole barn and a new home at the site.

Lois Mull received approval to rezone the property at 141 Keel Drive from Industrial to Business B-1. A building, which already exists on the property, was previously used as an office for a tree service and Mull said she plans to use the building as an office.



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