IW calls for new Windsor school

Published 9:24 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

By Gwen Albers

The Tidewater News

The Isle of Wight County School Board on Wednesday voted 4-1 to build a new Windsor Middle School.

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The board also agreed to support applying for a $15 million interest-free loan to build the school, which is expected to cost $23.6 million. Renovating the current 61-year-old building for 550 students would cost $22 million, according to a committee that studied both options.

The plans call for constructing the new building next to the current one, which would be razed. The building would be ready by early 2013.

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors also has to vote on the matter.

School Board member Herb DeGroft, who represents the Hardy District, abstained from voting. DeGroft said he needed more time to read the study, since both options weren’t presented to the board until Wednesday’s meeting.

He did suggest closing Windsor Middle School and moving sixth-graders to Carrsville and Windsor elementary schools and seventh- and eighth-graders to Windsor High School.

Windsor Middle School Principal Susan Goetz, who served on the building committee, told the board the committee is recommending a new building instead of renovating. Goetz noted that state education officials suggest building new if the cost of renovating is more than 50 percent of the cost of new.

Windsor Middle School has issues with lead, PCBs and asbestos, she said. Others on the committee mentioned mold and yeast.

“I’m amazed how teachers have endured what they have and the community has endured what it has,” Goetz said. “And the smell (of the building). It stinks.”

She added that the air conditioning is so loud teachers can’t be heard; there’s no warm water; and there are wasps in the classrooms.

“Fourteen to 15 landed on one teacher (one day),” Goetz said. “We should feel fortunate students have done as well in these conditions.”

Windsor Middle School PTA President Michelle McManus said she’s experienced 90-degree temperatures in one end of the building, and much colder temperatures in another portion. McManus has also heard about bees and wasps in the building.

“It’s a great school, and we have great teachers, but the building is horrible,” she told the board.