New elementary school tops list

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In unveiling their capital improvement priorities for the upcoming year, the Suffolk School Board completed a process they started months ago in voting to consolidate the student bodies of Robertson and Southwestern Elementary Schools.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the board voted to make the number one priority for the year the planning and construction of the consolidated school.

Since the consolidation was decided months ago, the majority of the 90-minute meeting focused on what the board’s second priority should be.

Ultimately, the board voted to go along with the recommendations given by the Capital Improvements Plan Study Committee, and named the development of a new middle school in North Suffolk as the second priority and the construction of a new operations facility for the school system the third priority.

The board members did note that the new operations facility could take over an old elementary school.

Additionally, board member Michael Debranski suggested that Superintendent Milton Liverman meet with City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn in order to get a better handle on the city’s plans for leased buildings, specifically the School Administrative Offices on North Main Street.

Thirteen other projects were named in the committee’s report and the board voted to assess them as time allowed throughout the upcoming years.

At the beginning of the meeting, Liverman thanked each member of the committee and said it was one of the “hardest working committees” he has ever worked with as superintendent.

“They have turned over virtually every stone necessary to complete a comprehensive report,” Liverman said. “I don’t think there is a group of people in the city who know these buildings better.”

While the report was thorough, Liverman said they made the decision not to include cost projections in the report because those would all be different based on locations chosen and when the project begins.

The board’s actions Wednesday would leave the administrative staff to look at realistic budgeting and economic breakdowns for these projects.