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Mecklenburg supes secure site for new school

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, the location is east of Boydton, across from Route 4 leading to Kerr Dam. Above, the view across U.S. 58 where Triangle Grocery #2 is located in the Baskerville area. (Susan Kyte photos)
SoVaNow.com / January 10, 2018
Mecklenburg County may be one step closer to building a new school for grades 6-12.

On Friday, the Board of Supervisors signed two purchase options to acquire nearly 175 acres of land with the expectation that the tract will serve as the future home of Mecklenburg County’s consolidated high school/middle school complex.

The land, jointly owned by William S. Wilkinson and Jeremy, Adrienne, Calvin and Judy Seaman, sits at the intersection of Wooden Bridge Road and U.S. Route 58, six miles east of Boydton. The proposed school site is just northwest of the intersection of Route 58 and Route 4, across the highway from where Triangle Grocery 2 of Baskerville is located.

While the School Board has not yet voted to accept the supervisors’ choice, Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols hailed the proposed land purchase as “an indication that we are taking one more step toward the new secondary schools that are so desperately needed in Mecklenburg County.

“Issues that we currently have, trying to maintain heat and stop leaking at our middle and high schools, are more evidence that we need to move forward as quickly as possible,” said Nichols. “Whatever one may feel about progress the county has or has not made toward building new schools in the past are behind us.”

The movement on a consolidated school site came at the same time Mecklenburg County schools were shuttered due to cold weather, road conditions, and a failed heating system causing pipes to freeze at Park View Middle School.

Before the county can build a school at the proposed site, considerable work will have to be done to provide utility services there.

Water lines from the Roanoke River Service Authority already run parallel on U.S. 58 across the roadway from the 175-acre farm, but the site would need an expensive extension of sewer lines — miles in length.

The purchase options run from Dec. 29-June 30, but can be extended for 90 days at the request of the county.

County Administrator Wayne Carter said he was not authorized to disclose how much, if anything, was paid for the option, nor the price the owners are asking for the land. In part, this is because there is no agreement between the Supervisors and School Board trustees on the ultimate site of the new school.

Additionally, Carter said, engineers hired by the county to assist in the site selection process have not completed their evaluation of the property. Nevertheless, he and supervisors serving on Mecklenburg County’s Joint Education Committee agreed to move forward on this project by obtaining an option on the land.

The School Board is set to meet on Tuesday, Jan. 15, but it is not known if this matter will be discussed at that meeting.

Trustees are expected to discuss moving forward with the hiring of an architect to plan and design the new school complex.

Nichols said he “has an RFP [Request for Proposal] ready, but it needs the approval of the School Board.”

The Superintendent also made an appeal for progress, saying a new facility is essential to his goal of providing students with a 21st century education.

“We now have an opportunity to build a new middle and high school complex to break the mold of ‘one size fits all, focus on high stakes testing’ education. We must seize the opportunity for the sake of our students and our local economy,” Nichols said.



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