New career building, Jouett addition on schools' radar

The Louisa County School Board voted Dec. 3 to send a $6.8 million capital improvement budget to the board of supervisors. The draft budget includes the first round of funding for a new career and technical education building and a long-anticipated addition to Jouett Elementary School.

The capital budget, or CIP, is a planning document for the next 20 years, but the $6.8 million would be spent in fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1. 

An addition for Jouett Elementary is the priciest item in the budget, at $2.7 million. That number is subject to change because of recent construction cost increases.

The schools are also seeking $2.5 million to start construction of a new career and technical education center. The total cost of that project is estimated at $14.5 million, with spending spread over the 20-year period.

A $600,000 storage building and $700,000 for a new parking area were in an earlier version of the capital budget, but were later removed. The parking was pushed back to the fiscal year 2022 budget.

The Louisa County Board of Supervisors agreed at their Dec. 2 meeting to allow the schools to pay for the storage building out of unspent funds left over from a previous budget year. 

“We’re out of storage space across the division,” said Doug Straley, superintendent of schools. “We need a place to store records, desks, chairs, everything that needs to be in conditioned space.”

The building’s exact location is not certain, but it may be built on 127 acres the schools recently acquired to the west and south of the middle and high schools. The future career and technical education building will also be located on this property. Straley said a master plan is in the works to determine how buildings and parking will be arranged on the site.

The rest of the budget is made up of items the schools purchase annually, such as new buses and computers.

The supervisors will consider the schools’ capital budget as part of the county-wide budget process that begins in January 2020.