A clean slate for new high school
When the earthquake shook Louisa County residents in August of 2011, Louisa County High School was damaged to such an extent that students would never pass through those front doors again.
In those unsettling days, when aftershocks set residents on edge for months, Louisa County Public Schools leaders made arrangements for the high school to share classrooms at Louisa County Middle School.
High school students attended Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while middle schoolers went on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until a mobile classroom complex could be built for high school students.
The trailers are all that freshmen who entered high school that year will ever know. But the Class of 2016, consisting of that year’s eighth-grade class, will have a brand new modern school from which to graduate.
School officials have worked diligently to make plans for the new high school facility and are now at the 85 percent design phase mark. Construction bids are expected to go out on June 14 and are scheduled to be returned by July 15 so that work can commence in August.
The demolition has already taken place, with workers leaving the slab that marks the former footprint of the old high school, in place. That section will be removed once work officially begins on the new building.
Planning for future needs and expansion, the new 270,471-square-foot design can accommodate 1,750 students—300 more than the former school could handle.
The night before the earthquake, school board members entered into a contract to build an addition to the school to expand its student population by 300. That contract was cancelled when the school succumbed to the strong temblor.
The project is comprised of a 232,261 core school building, 12,000-square-foot auxiliary, gym and multipurpose room and a 10,000-square-foot metal career and technical classroom building for teaching mechanics and agriculture classes.
School officials estimate that the project, with locally funded upgrades, could cost somewhere in the $54 million range, but won’t know for sure until bids come back from contractors in mid-July. Read The Central Virginian’s May 16, 2013 issue for full story