New school facility stays on track a year after construction start

The Mecklenburg County Middle/High School facility continues to remain on track for completion next year.

Current Progress includes:

  • Steel erection is in progress; first floor of Administration is complete. Decking continues in Middle School classrooms.
  • Second deck slab has been poured in the High School Classrooms.
  • PVC roofing is in progress over the CTE Area.
  • Plumbing, electrical, fire suppression are ongoing in the High School Classrooms and CTE Wing. Ductwork is being pressure tested in the Cafeterias.
  • Asphalt paving has resumed
  • Force Main is in progress. Sump structure has been set.
  • Construction on MS Athletic fields is nearing completion
  • MS Concessions SOG has been poured

Skanska is preparing for the project to be finalized by August 1, 2022. Moving in to July the community will see the paving of the middle school track and the painting of the middle school gym. Completion on the auditorium walls will be completed on June 25 and the finalization of the standing seam roof in the high school gym.

“I just want to point out to the Board that the middle school athletic facility is just incredible by itself. We’ve been seeing that come along but I kept waiting and waiting for the rock on the high school. To see that kind of progress on the high school level is just a dream to my eyes,” said Superintendent Nichols.

Construction remains on budget at $109,807,295.

The School Board passed a resolution requesting that the Virginia Department of Transportation to perform a study and establish a reduced School Zone Speed Limit in proximity of the new facility.

Stephen Whitten and the Mecklenburg Education Association asked the Board to consider reestablishing the 220 sick day carryover policy, which was voted out of policy by the Board a couple of years ago.

According to Mr. Nichols, teachers and staff that he has met with felt that this policy “took something away from them. If you remember Mrs. Alga coming to us a telling us that the issue was basically that the teachers were given this option but others were not. It was a matter of equity. It is not an expense issue, it was a matter of equity.”

Bailey asked, “Basically this group of employees that retired this year are basically getting short changed. Would it be wrong of me to think of it that way?”

Christy Peffer explained, “This was a policy a year ago. You guys took it out of policy and now Mr. Whitten wants it put back in policy. It has nothing to do with retirees and paying out. This was done for any teacher that carried over 120 sick days. They were paid for those sick days at the rate of substitute pay. Retirees that have sick days are paid out at $10 a day so it nothing to do with anybody that resigns or retires. It was a policy they instituted 10 years ago to try to have teachers have better attendance. One of the reasons that we removed it is because it is discriminatory in nature because it is for a specific group of staff and not all staff.”

“The 2021 school year has been the most difficult in education that many of us can remember because of COVID. Not only was it a medical issue but also it forced divisions all year long between parents and teachers, schools and businesses, and among the teaching staff having to teach face-to-face and virtual at the same time. It created huge differences for our students,” said Nichols. “As we look at the many issues, I just want to make it clear that the Mecklenburg staff rose to the occasion. There has been many conversations amongst staff about how difficult it was but I just have to give kudos from the central office moving out to the schools.”

The county is still looking for bus drivers for the next school year. Brian Dalton says that they have seen some success from advertising and are actively reaching out to interested candidates.