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State officials visit Halifax County High School during ‘Crumbling Schools Tour’

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:04 AM EDT
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SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (WDBJ) - “No one can argue the point that the aging fleet of buildings in rural schools impacts student learning,” said Dr. Mark Lineburg, Halifax County Schools superintendent.

With the opportunity to display their needs to state officials, Halifax County opened the doors to its high school Thursday for a tour.

“One of the things that you will see as you tour this building is that you can’t go far without seeing things that are not in compliance or need work,” said Michael Lewis, Halifax County High School Principal.

“The high school is in need of complete renovation or a complete rebuild. The structure of the high school is shifting causing structural issues. The things I’m speaking on today, you will see them this morning,” said Steve Brumfield, Director of Maintenance and Operations.

As the structural concerns of the school made clear, the tour highlighted the disadvantages in place for students with disabilities, as it is filled with stairways and steep ramps.

“If you were walking in here, just imagine coming in the building, and you are a person who is handicapped, it would be extremely challenging just to get to the seats you are in right now,” said Lewis.

The school’s electric and fire systems that were in here in the 70s were also highlighted, as well as the security flaws with 55 entry points, and stairwells that are hard to monitor.

“Here you have doors that are fire doors that are shut that prevent you from seeing hallways, so it takes more people to do it, so we really rely on our staff,” said Lewis.

All this is information the department of education will report to the state.

“It really reaffirms the needs among many communities across for Virginia in terms of needs for new and improved school facilities,” said Kent Dickey with the Virginia Department of Education.

Halifax County Board of Supervisors and School Board members are still working together to determine what should be done with this building. Whether to build it a new or renovate it.

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