During its regular meeting, the Harrisonburg School Board was presented with a proposed capital improvement plan that includes $1.5 million to buy land for a seventh elementary school.
Every year, the School Board approves a capital improvement plan that outlines potential projects for the next five years or updates the current five-year plan. This year, the board approved a plan for the next five years, through fiscal 2024.
The most expensive item on the CIP is, of course, the new high school. For fiscal 2020-21, $5.5 million has been set aside to design the new high school. But most of the money — $79.8 million — will be spent in 2021-22. This includes a 6% construction inflation rate.
The CIP presented also included a timeline for the completion of certain aspects of the high school.
The timeline includes:
• Fall 2019: building programming
• Fall 2020: building design
• Spring 2021: bid
• May 2021: construction
• May 2023: substantial completion
Additional projects include a new roof for Thomas Harrison Middle School, and a chiller and broiler replacement at Stone Spring Elementary School.
The next purchase is listed for the 2022-23 fiscal year, with land for a new elementary school. This was added due to projected growth, said Craig Mackail, chief operating officer for the school division.
Because the school division does not expect enrollment to decrease in the near future, it needs to plan for additional education space for students.
It’s this growth that has driven many of the projects on the CIP. For example, the CIP approved in 2013 included an expansion to Harrisonburg High School.
Projections suggest that enrollment will grow by nearly 700 students in the next five years. The only grade level projected to decrease is second grade, and 11th grade has the most projected growth.
Currently 6,246 students are enrolled in Harrisonburg City Public Schools. Ten years ago that number was around 4,400. By 2024 enrollment will be 6,924.
Information for the projections was provided by Demographics Research Group, part of the University of Virginia.
Future considerations included in the CIP presented Tuesday night are $1.2 million in fiscal 2023 for auxiliary gymnasium construction at the new high school, and $2.4 million in 2024 for the construction of softball and baseball stadiums at the new high school, as well as the construction of tennis courts. Also included is $5.3 million for the construction of a football stadium in 2025. A future renovation of Harrisonburg High School is also included in the future projects section of the plan, but without a year or price tag.
The School Board will meet for a work session on Jan. 21 to discuss and finalize the CIP.