Charlottesville Superintendent recommends Buford for combined middle school site

Jim Henderson, Charlottesville’s assistant superintendent for administration services  confirmed to C-VILLE that during the school board meeting last night, Charlottesville Superintendent Rosa Atkins recommended “that the sixth-through eighth-[grade] middle school be located at the Buford site.”

The consolidation of Walker Upper Elementary and Buford Middle has been approved and now, the School Board has to formally decide which structure to repurpose for a likely pre-school and adult learning center, according to Henderson.  

“The rationale that the Superintendent gave for … Buford school was the proximity to the aquatic center and the Boys & Girls Club. The topography of Buford lends itself to accommodate interior connections between the four buildings.
Buford has adequate parking for staff and visitors, and allows for separate bus loading and unloading with auto traffic,” says Henderson.

The Board could decide the fate of the schools as early as Thursday, February 17. The timeline for the actual consolidation, however, is further out.

“Renovation would begin sometime during that time through the summer of 2015, and in 2016 we would open up the 6-8 middle school. But this is all contingent on funds from City Council, so it could move faster and it could move slower,” says Henderson.

If the school board decides to go with Atkins’ recommendation, the estimated cost would be $20.9 million, according to VMDO Architects, while the same project at Walker would cost about $2.7 million less.

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