, 2015

Supervisors discuss capital
improvement projects;
will negotiate to buy library site

by Maggie Somerville

LANCASTER—When the Lancaster board of supervisors met Thursday to discuss possible borrowing numbers for capital improvement projects (CIP), county administrator Frank Pleva advised the board to “guess high.”

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With all of the changes and expenses the county expects over the next several years, it would be better to ask the bank for more money now although they might need less later, said Pleva.

Several board members weighed in on what to borrow, including District 1 supervisor Butch Jenkins who expressed a desire to earmark $1.5 to $2 million for community recreational facilities. District 3 supervisor Jason Bellows and District 4 supervisor William Lee agreed.

Following further discussion of the numbers, chairman Wally Beauchamp of District 5 introduced a motion calling on Pleva to further “explore” borrowing up to $7 million dollars over the next 10 years.

After a brief introduction by Lancaster school board chairman Dr. Robert Westbrook, new school superintendent Steven Parker suggested the board reevaluate some capital improvement items on the schools’ list.

“We’d like to remove the $350,000 for the design and building of the new track,” Parker said. “Until we can have some long-range plans of what we are going to do with our school facilities, I just don’t think that we can reasonably spend $350,000 on a new track.”

However, Parker requested CIP funding of $250,000 to build a new athletic building at the high school that would include changing rooms, showers and a wrestling/multipurpose room.

Currently, the football team changes in a modular classroom (trailer) in conditions that Parker, a former football player and coach, described as being “completely inadequate and depressing.”

Lee questioned Parker’s proposal not to rebuild the track.

“There have been a lot of complaints about the track,” Lee said, “It just does not exist.”

Parker explained the track is cinder (fine grade gravel) and has long been in need of repair and will continue to be an issue until a decision is made on building new schools.

After the meeting, Westbrook explained the school board feels it is “more prudent” now to spend $250,000 on a building that serves several sports than to commit $350,000 on something that serves only one sport.

Supervisors said money saved from school capital improvement projects could be directed toward the possible purchase of the Lancaster Community Library at 235 School Street, adjacent to the middle school in Kilmarnock, once the library vacates the property and moves to a facility on Town Center Drive some time next year.

“We believe that structure will give us space for an alternative education site, and certainly for storage,” Parker said.

Beauchamp moved that the school board obtain an independent appraisal and begin negotiations to purchase the structure. The motion passed, 5-0.

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