PALMYRA — The Fluvanna School Board was briefed on preliminary ideas on what do to once Cunningham Elementary and Columbia Elementary schools close during the April 10 meeting.
“One of our concerns, holding on to a building, is it is in need of so much that I don’t know that we can survive another year of hidden cost.” said superintendent Gena Keller. “I just don’t know if that is wise for us to do that.”
The buildings will close on July 1 with those students moved to Central Elementary School for the 2013 through 2014 school year.
District staff will have to go through the building to identify furniture worth keeping and surplus furniture once the buildings close. Already, the administration has been approached about future use of the buildings.
Keller told the board one man met with the school staff on April 10 to discuss using Cunningham Elementary School. Churches have previously approached administration about future usage of Columbia Elementary School.
Keeping both buildings will cost $1,900 per year for insurance on the vacant facilities. School staff would also have to regularly check the buildings, flush toilets and inspect for regular maintenance issues.
One issue staff is concerned about is ‘unknown maintenance’ costs that come with older buildings.
If there is a public desire to rent the buildings, the School Board could vote to declare the buildings surplus to revert back to the Board of Supervisors. The county adminstration would then facilitate any leases of the building.
It is a less cumbersome process to do leases through the Board of Supervisors because changes to the School Board budget require action of the Board of Supervisors.
Also, school staff would not have to continuously focus on the buildings.
“At least there is interest, whether it is our building or the county’s. I don’t want any of those buildings to stay empty,” said Keller.
Technology infrastructure is on both properties including radio relayers to increase radio availability for buses. One cell phone tower company has already approached both the Board of Supervisors and School Board Office staff about constructing a tower at Cunningham Elementary School.
The May School Board meeting will have better information about the options and factors associated with each. The meeting is scheduled for May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in Palmyra School.