Mongtomery County Schools create list of possible Christiansburg school renovations

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) New school buildings in Christiansburg aren't likely to come anytime soon and neither is the funding for those massive projects. Though the idea isn't off the table entirely.

For now, the Montgomery County school system created a plan B, one that includes renovations.

"The focus of we have to do something about the Christiansburg schools, that has not changed. That has been consistent throughout this. What that could end up looking like is changing and could still change," said Connie Froggatt, a board member for the school board.

Montgomery County Schools have a good problem. Trends show more people are moving into the area, that means schools are nearly bursting at the seams. The best plan now that is cost effective is upgrading current buildings.

"These buildings are old. They're not up to date inside in terms of technology," Froggatt said.

Proposed changes now include an up to 75 million dollar renovations to Christiansburg High School. It would add more classroom space, an addition to the gym, and new athletic fields.

One proposed upgrade would be to the old Christiansburg Middle School that sits empty. The possible 32 million dollar renovation would create a new Elementary School that could reduce crowded classrooms at current elementary schools.

Another idea would add up to 25 million dollars worth of new classrooms, office space, parking, and kitchen space at Belview Elementary School.

And yet another plan calls for a 37 million dollar renovation to Christiansburg Elementary School that adds more classrooms and offices.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors seems to stand behind renovations rather than building new schools. It's a better bang for their buck according to the county. Supervisors voted down the pitch to raise taxes to pay for the new school buildings.

“We were happy to learn about fiscally responsible alternatives for the Christiansburg school strand," said Chris Tuck, the chairman of the board of supervisors. "We all recognize the need with the Christiansburg schools and looking at renovations versus building something new may be a great approach for meeting that need sooner."

"Just look at what was done with Auburn Middle School," Tuck said. "That expansion and renovation looks great. I’d love to see something like what was done for Auburn Middle be done for Christiansburg High School.”

Froggatt says the school board will let the community choose within the next few months on what projects are priorities. Previously Christiansburg High School and Belview Elementary School have been at the top of the list for either renovations or new schools.

The next joint meeting will reveal what the county can afford. That meeting is scheduled for October.