February 21, 2007

The Alleghany County School Board held a called joint meeting with the Covington City School Board on February 21, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. in the Curfman Hall Auditorium, Covington High School in Covington, Virginia.

PRESENT: R. Joe Anderson; R. Wayne Botkins; H. Hunter Fridley; Robert A. Fridley; David W. Halsey; Randall S. Tucker, Vice-Chairman; and Michael L. Whitehead, Chairman. Also present:  Robert P. Grimesey, Superintendent/Clerk; and Terrie Wright and Ingrid Barber, Deputy Clerks.

Chairman Whitehead presided and called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  The call to order was followed by a moment of silence and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.


(07-217) Presentation by OWPR, Inc. of Blacksburg, VA: Options for expansion and renovation of Covington High School for use as a possible consolidated high school for students in both Alleghany County and Covington City.

Randy Jones, OWPR Architect, presented the Alleghany County and Covington City School Board members with a hand-out detailing a “Joint Covington & Alleghany High School Study.”  He said he had wonderful input from board members, parents and staff.  Mr. Jones had solicited creative thoughts from the faculty and community to determine the needs to convert the current Covington High School into a joint Covington and Alleghany County High School for 1100 students to create the best educational opportunities. 

The process was intended to be transparent, objective, creative and cooperative, and to “think outside of the box.”  The process had started on December 14, 2006 with a meeting with Dr. Grimesey and Mr. Graham.  It was followed by a December 19 meeting with the two superintendents and Kenneth Higgins, Principal, Alleghany High School and Ruth Fuhrman, Principal, Covington High School.  On January 3, 2007 programming meeting was conducted in the morning with career and technical education representatives from both high school faculties and Jackson River Technical Center.  In the afternoon of January 3, a meeting was conducted with faculty representatives from both school systems.  On the afternoon of January 18, 2007, Mr. Jones conducted a meeting to solicit input from each community’s director of parks and recreation, as well as from the athletic directors from each high school.  Finally, on the evening of January 18, he conducted a meeting to solicit input from representatives of each school divisions PTAs, PTOs, and high school booster clubs for athletics and music.

The components of the process included descriptions of the size and number of all required spaces for programs; a concept floor plan indicating spatial relationships for all required programmed spaces; and site analysis and a concept plan indicating potential impact of expanded urban school on surrounding neighborhood and business community.

Mr. Jones continued by describing the floor plan: 

·          For security purposes, the administrative offices would be in the front of the building where people would be forced to enter the school through this office.  All other doors would be locked during the day. Visitors would be able to go out the doors but not able to re-enter.

·          The new auditorium would be large enough to seat the entire student body.

·          The current gym would become an auxiliary gym and a new gym would be built to seat 1,500-2,000 people. There would be separate dressing facilities for boys and girls.

·          A new library and media center would need to be four times the size of the current library to meet state requirements.

·          Current classrooms also do not meet state requirements.  So they would need to be enlarged.

·          The current elevator will still be adequate.

He added a description of recreation facilities:

·          Covington High School’s Casey Field would remain a baseball field with some capacity for multi-use community events.

·          New fencing would need to be done around Casey Field.

·          The number of tennis courts at Fort Young Park would have to be increased and lights would need to be installed.

·          Jackson River Sports Complex would accommodate softball and soccer.

·          The proposed new Covington elementary/middle school site would have a football and track and field complex.  The playing field, track and visitors bleachers would be located in a 500-year flood plain.

The current Covington High School is approximately 100,000 square feet and another 100,000 square feet will have to be added.

No city streets would have to be closed, according to the plan.

Cost estimates included the following:

Renovation cost (101,000 SF)                        $  5-6 Million

Addition cost (99,000 SF)                              $18-20 Million

Exterior Athletic Facilities:                             $  4-5 Million

Other Miscellaneous (25%)                            $  7-8 Million*

   *Includes FFE, fees, contingency, etc.

Total Project Cost:                                         $34-39 Million*

   *Does not include additional land acquisition

Discussion based on questions from School Board members:

Becky Rhea, Covington School Board member, asked the cost of demolition of Covington Armory.  Mr. Jones estimated $80,000-$100,000.

Joyce Persinger, Chairman, Covington School Board member, asked if we were locked into 1,100 students or was there room for growth.  Mr. Jones replied that the facility could accommodate 1,500 students and offer options for expansion.

Rob Fridley, Alleghany County School Board member, asked how long it would take to complete the project.  Mr. Jones estimated six-eight months to complete the design, two months to bid out, and two years to build.

Randy Tucker, Alleghany County School Board member, asked about the amount of acreage that currently is considered flood plain at the proposed location for a new football-track stadium.  Mr. Jones said the locker rooms, rest rooms, concession and home stands would be out of the flood plain area.  He added that the football field, track and visitors stands would remain in the flood plain.

Jeremy Thomas, Covington School Board member, commented that the cost per square feet would be about $200.  Mr. Jones said the estimate was accurate and that you could go to the VDOE web site for average costs to build schools.

Mr. Tucker asked how long the renovations would last.  Mr. Jones said the renovated portion of the building would last for 25 years and the addition would last for 50 years.

Mike Whitehead, Chairman, Alleghany County School Board, asked if there was another area in the city that was not in a flood plain.  Mr. Jones said the study had been constrained by the assumption that he should try to work with properties that were currently available to the city.

Mr. Tucker expressed concern about the existing elevator accommodating the different levels of the new construction.  Mr. Jones said the addition of one or more ramps would enable the current elevator to serve all levels in the building.

Hunter Fridley, Alleghany County School Board member, asked about the appearance of the exterior of the building.  Mr. Jones said it was wise to blend with the outside of the addition with the existing structure and to blend the entire structure with the surrounding community.

Joe Anderson, Alleghany County School Board member, asked about the number of doors in the building.  Mr. Jones said there had to be a maximum number of doors per occupancy in order to ensure adequate escape capacity in the event of an emergency.

Mrs. Rhea asked if the current heating system would be used.  Mr. Jones said the heating system would need to be replaced.

Mr. Anderson asked if a security camera system was part of the construction cost.  Mr. Jones said it was but added that the cost could be sub-contracted separately.

Mr. Whitehead asked if the curriculum differences between the two high schools had been considered in the design.  Mr. Jones explained that differences had been included based on the assumption that all students would have access to the same curriculum benefits offered at the school that offered the greatest degree of such benefits.  To that end, his design was based on the assumption that all students could attain 32 credits over four years.

Mrs. Persinger asked how long OWPR would back the project.  Mr. Jones said, as long as they are a client, they are there.  An architect guarantees their work for one year.  Roof and other things would depend on the warranties.

Hunter Fridley asked what type of roof was proposed.   Mr. Jones indicated that it would provide ¼-inch sloop per foot.


                MOTION:  That the February 21, 2007 called meeting of the Alleghany County School Board be adjourned.
                                  MOTION:  Mr. H. Fridley
                                  SECOND:  Mr. Tucker
                                  VOTE:   Unanimous
                                 TIME:  8:20 p.m.