DCPS’ Weston details $91 million capital improvement plan

By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: February 15, 2020 | 1:30 p.m. 

DINWIDDIE – The county public schools need $91.3 million for necessary improvements for its facilities and programming.

Though that capital improvement plan was presented to the Board of Supervisors and approved, school officials, realize that doesn’t mean the funding will come anytime soon.

Therefore, Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston presented an alternative plan that breaks those needs assessments down for the next 10 years.

“What generates the needs for capital improvements are poor conditions, functionality problems, and programming changes,” Weston told the School Board during its regular meeting on Jan. 28.

“Simply stated over time things were out or ugly out.”

She discussed a comprehensive conditions assessment including cost and timeline.

Also sometimes things can be in fine physical condition but they just don’t work well. Se and the school team identified the inadequacies through observations and interviews to develop design solutions, a timeline for implementation and associated costs.

Weston said over time, needs and expectations change and they have to be creative to explore solutions and their cost impact while considering stakeholder input.

Through the facility assessments, Weston said the goal was to document the present condition of each building to assist in forecasting funding requirements to address deficiencies, upgrades and/or renovations. 

“The assessment is focused on a physical inspection of the site conditions and existing building structure (exterior and interior) to include the areas of building systems noted within each Executive Summary,” she explained.

Those assessments have been completed with several studies including a 2003 BCWH Architects study, in 2005 and 2009, Moseley Architects provided information and Timmons Group in 2010 and a 2016, 2018 and 2019 RRMM evaluated the facilities.

In fiscal year 2018, CIP Requests totaled $91.3M and included a new Southside costing an estimated $25,7 million, additions and renovations at Sunnyside at $16 million.

Others include:

Dinwiddie Middle – Addition/Renovations at $41.6 million, Midway – Addition/Renovations costing $ 5.6M, Dinwiddie Elementary – Site Improvements, $ 1.8M.

FY2021 – FY2030 Capital Improvement Plan 

FY2021 CIP – $8.9M 

• School Bus Replacement – 7

• Roof Replacement – Annex

• Demolition of Café – Annex

• Southside Elementary Option 5 

• HVAC Upgrade – Southside

• Roof Recoat – Southside 

• Phone System Replacement – Dinwiddie Middle 

• WJE Roof Study Repairs – Dinwiddie High 

With the alternative Southside option, it would move preschool classes to the annex.

FY2022 CIP – $1M 

• School Bus Replacement – 6

• Roof Replacement – Dinwiddie Elementary 

• Gym Floor Replacement – Midway

• Gym Floor Replacement – Sunnyside

• Resurface Track – Athletics

FY2023 CIP – $ 925,644 

• School Bus Replacement – 7

• Chiller Replacement- – HSHS

• Modular Classrooms Replacement – Sunnyside 

FY2024 CIP – $1.7M 

• School Bus Replacement – 5

• HVAC Upgrades – Sunnyside

• Spring Sports Field House – Athletics 

FY2025 CIP – $3.1M 

• School Bus Replacement – 6

• Asbestos Abatement – Dinwiddie Middle School

• HVAC Upgrades – Dinwiddie Middle

• HVAC Upgrades – Dinwiddie Elementary

• HVAC Upgrades – Midway

• Playground Upgrades – Southside/Midway/Sunnyside/Dinwiddie 

• Phone System Replacement – Dinwiddie High 

FY2026 CIP – $1.4M 

• School Bus Replacement – 6

• Turf Field – Athletics (Currently researching) 

FY2027 CIP – $ 484,810 

• School Bus Replacement – 5 

FY2028 CIP – $1.7M 

• School Bus Replacement – 5

• Replacement of Playground Equipment – Sutherland • Roof Replacement – Sutherland

• Roof Replacement – Dinwiddie High 

FY2029 CIP – $ 499,355 

• School Bus Replacement – 5 

FY2030 CIP – $ 499,355 

• School Bus Replacement – 6 

Projects under $100,000 have been submitted to the county totaling $20.3 million with an additional $20.3 million for more costly projects and another $605,100 for school nutrition equipment replacement.

Weston explained the next steps are submission of large capital project requests to the county, request an increase in small capital revenue received from the county, prioritize all requests, explore alternate funding options available, continue to engage in long-range, collaborative planning and communicating those needs to the community. 

The schools currently receive $150,000 from the county each year for capital improvements, but it’s not enough to meet all the needs. “We are going to be continually chasing that.

“We are exploring other options to determine how to fund projects in different ways,” Weston said.

At this time it’s unclear where the new school will be built, as Weston noted that there is talk of a large home development outside of the Southside Elementary School area.

Weston said they will be exploring a turf field to see the cost and if it will make financial sense in the long term while minting a field that is used by the many athletic teams and to help prevent future injuries.

“We appreciate the willingness of the county to talk about it and they did a walk through the facilities,” Weston said. “They are trying to make the best of it, but we are a large county and there are other needs, but it’s a perfect storm.”

School Board member Betty Haney made a motion to approve the 10-year proposed CIP knowing that it is a working document and changes may be needed as time goes on, and other needs are determined.

Vice-Chair Mary Benjamin seconded the motion and all agreed.

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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