Montgomery County Schools look for nearly $6 million for Christiansburg High athletic field updates

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Following the building of new schools in Blacksburg, the Montgomery County School Board said it's time to focus on Christiansburg High School.

It's an issue many in the county have wanted to address.

"There's been this perception that it's our turn, we're due now, while the County has the money," High School Principal Tony Deibler.

But there won't be a new high school in Christiansburg

Eventually, when the county can borrow more money for schools again, around 2023, there will be a new wing added and renovations costing around $70 million, the same price tag the new Blacksburg High School cost.

Deibler said of keeping the same building, "There's a lot of wonderful things about the current Christiansburg High School. If I go toward the vocational wing, the CTE wing, it's very spacious, it could always use some upgrade, but it's an excellent facility.

"It's primarily the classrooms, they're small, they're different sizes, there aren't enough of them. So if we could take the building, add an academic wing, and then renovate some of the other stuff inside, I think we can probably get that done for a whole lot less than building a brand new school. And the location here is very centralized for Christiansburg."

Schools Superintendent Mark Miear said a brand new building would cost $110 million, $40 more than the expected renovations.

But that won't be for about six years. Right now, the School Board is focusing on the athletic fields at Christiansburg High School.

A letter approved Tuesday by the School Board to the County Board of Supervisors asked for nearly $6 million.

It would replace the field used by the football, soccer, and new lacrosse teams use with turf, build a new eight lane rubber track, replace the current seating new permanent stands at the baseball field, and build a softball field in empty space next to the baseball field, as CHS is one of few schools without one.

Miear explained, "The initial request is $3.9 million, which will cover the stadium, field, and track, and then a softball and baseball. Then in a year or two, an additional $2 million to add a restroom facility and concession stand and locker rooms here at the stadium."

But Miear also said if something were to be done with the front of the Old Blacksburg Middle School property soon, that new concession stand and locker room facility could be built much sooner.

Unlike renovations to the school, the money doesn't need to be raised, it's just about all there.

"The initial funding is from the savings that the Board of Supervisors is putting aside for the schools, either from the sale of old school properties or from, they're actually putting aside two cents of the taxes in Montgomery County," Miear said.

And for the school, it can mean much more than just an athletic face lift.

Deibler explained, "When the school's excited and they have great facilities and the kids are excited about that, they put more into it, community comes out to support the school, they affect academic performance as well."

It can also benefit the community as the fields will be open to the public, and the school can ask to host things like state track meets with the new facilities.

Miear said there is a conjoined meeting between the School Board and Board of Supervisors on October 30 where he'll make his presentation. The County could approve it as early as then.

If it is approved soon enough, the turf field could be ready for the football season Fall of 2018.

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