Roanoke County school board suggests phasing in renovation for Cave Spring

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) - Students and parents have had plenty of questions for the school board over renovations to Cave Spring High School.

Monday night was the second of two public meetings at the high school. While no official decision has been made about what to do with students during renovations next year, the superintendent said he feels these meetings have been helpful.

For a second time, dozens of people from the Cave Spring High School community filled into the auditorium, ready with questions on what's become a hot topic.

"What options are on the table that are being considered for our students?" asked one woman.

The meeting began with the architects explaining their drafted renovation plans. They explained a new option on the table - one that would phase in renovations over a 27-month period.
It would involve moving 9th graders to Cave Spring Middle.
But keep 10th through 12th graders on site. Audience members asked questions ranging from after school activities to asbestos removal.

"How do you account for the construction noise while the kids are trying to learn?" asked one woman.

"How will the 9th graders be able to maintain integrity with the program?" asked one father.

"If you're going to sit the students on Chaparral Dr in trailer homes, my biggest concern is security," said one man.

Superintendent Dr. Greg Killough said he understands the community wants to maintain the high school experience. But he said there is still more they need to consider.

"If we bring the 9th graders onto site, we know that's going to create a whole lot more issues and concerns," he said. "Are we willing to look at that? Yes. There would be costs, more safety factors, more people on the site and it could create an elongated project, increasing the time."

Some people in the audience praised the design. Others asked why the district can't build a brand new school.

Both architects and board members told the audience that building a brand new school could cost twice as much as renovation. Plus, they said, the building is structurally sound.

When asked about asbestos removal, the lead architect said remediation is a controlled and well documented process. The architects also say they have plans in place to keep contractors and crews on site as far away from students as possible. Plus, they say, while there will be construction noises, they did take into account sensitive times like testing days.

At least two people brought up the idea of using or selling Poage's Mill farm which the county bought years ago. Killough said they don't yet have any concrete plans for it, but board members said it is unlikely to host a high school, as it was bought with an elementary school in mind.

Killough said the board hopes to make a final decision by the end of December or beginning of January to stay close to the timeline planned. He said people will still have a chance to comment on the topic at the December 14 board meeting.

More information on the evening's presentation and the renovation project can be found in the link attached to this article.