OWPR architectural firm is set to present a summary of an independent third party evaluation of a facility assessment and master plan study related to Halifax County High School performed by Moseley Architects at Monday night’s meeting of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.
That long-awaited evaluation is near the top of the agenda for Monday’s meeting, set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room 201 at the Mary Bethune Office Complex in Halifax.
Selected by supervisors, a committee selected OWPR Architects to provide an independent third party evaluation of the Moseley Architects Facility Assessment and Master Plan study related to the school system.
Supervisors sought an independent review of the findings and recommendations in order to be confident the correct long-term decisions regarding Halifax County High School are being made, according to County Administrator Scott Simpson.
Supervisors recently received the report, and OWPR will present a summary of the evaluation to the board and public at the board’s meeting Monday night.
OWPR was tasked with evaluating Moseley’s report to the Halifax County School Board that estimated a cost of $88 million for renovating and upgrading the high school and $99 million for building a new one.
In its report, OWPR estimated for them to do the same tasks as outlined by Moseley Architects it would cost $92 million to build a new high school and $73 million to renovate and upgrade Halifax County High School.
The second opinion assessment does not advocate either renovation or replacement but does lay out three potential scenarios, two of which were previously included in the Moseley report, including demolition and replacement options, as well as partial demolition, new addition and renovation options.
OWPR’s alternative approach is to preserve as much of the existing building assets as possible and as part of that approach does not contemplate demolishing any significant portion of the building, other than interior wall demolition for floor plan re-configuration.
OWPR reported the original design of Halifax County High School “presents many obstacles to create a modern 21st century learning environment.
“OWPR is in agreement that generally, when building renovation costs approach 75 percent of the new building replacement cost, that replacement should be considered,” according to the report.
OWPR also concurred with a second report from Moseley Architects and Timmons Group in September of 2018 that examined each school in the county including the high school and found structural issues in generally non-load bearing walls, with most cracks likely related to expansion issues, not settlement or structural fatigue.
In its report, OWPR recommends as part of an overall skin upgrade to remove areas of spalling/damaged white brick and replace it with a pre-finished aluminum panel system.
The OWPR assessment also agrees in general with those made in the Moseley report regarding site conditions, the football stadium and the exterior of Halifax County High School.
“Although site amenities are aging, OWPR believes much of the site can be restored through renovations and replacement of key components,” the report states.
Another related agenda item set for discussion on Monday is discussion of a proposed resolution authorizing an optional sales tax referendum, which allows Halifax County to levy an additional local sales tax not to exceed 1 percent, with the revenues to be used for construction or renovation of schools.
The levy is only authorized by ordinance after approval at a referendum.
Steps involved in the process include adoption of the resolution, a petition to the circuit court, placement of the referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot and adoption of the local ordinance pending voter approval.
Other agenda items
Also during Monday night’s meeting, supervisors are slated to take the following actions:
• Listen as county administrator Scott Simpson offers an update on courthouse renovation and expansion, both for the past month and the coming month;
Over the past 30 days, a new storm water line on Edmunds Boulevard has been completed, and grading at the commonwealth attorney’s building has been completed.
Also complete are:
• soil nails and shotcrete against the dirt below the north and south sides of the historic courthouse;
• shotcrete against the large dirt bank at Edmunds Boulevard;
• saw cutting at existing concrete walls and slabs around the west side of the historic courthouse;
• concrete walls for the southeast corner, and helical piers.
Steel erection has started at the south side of the building, and in the next 30 days, Simpson anticipates the start of construction of steel decking at the south side of the building; continued formation of concrete walls north of the east side of the building and digging and pouring of foundations.
• Receive a general update on the Shiloh Road EPA site cleanup from Steve Dishman, emergency services coordinator;
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with a multi-agency team including Halifax County, the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to clean up contamination at the Shiloh Church Road site.
Work began at the site July 15, according to Dishman, who is slated to provide an update of the past week’s activities by the EPA.
• Be informed Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and EMPOWER Broadband, in conjunction with Halifax County, is preparing an application to the Department of Housing and Community Development for Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grant funding to extend high-speed broadband to six areas in the county, including a portion of members along Howard P. Anderson Road, Hunting Creek Road, Clarkton Road, Mount Laurel Road, Stage Coach Road, Bull Creek Road, Chatham Road, Leda Road, Bill Tuck Highway and Aaron’s Creek Road;
Dustin Francis is scheduled to inform the board of the proposed service areas and ask for the concurrence of the county for a grant application.
Other agenda items set for discussion on Monday include:
• Monthly VDOT activity report;
• Finance committee recommendations;
• Update on recycling;
• Update on a VDOT SmartScale project at the Halifax County War Memorial for proposed traffic improvements at the Route 501-Mountain Road intersection;
• Appointments; and
• Citizens’ and supervisors’ comments.
If needed supervisors may go behind closed doors to discuss permitted items in closed session including personnel, legal matters and prospective business and industry.