After I wrote about the closing of the elementary schools and the cost of building a high school, I realized that I needed to do more research to see how other new schools that have been built recently stack up in comparison to our high school.

One school that I keep hearing comments about is Rustburg Middle School.

According to The (Lynchburg) News & Advance, it’s a $41.3 million school.

“The new 136,500-square-foot structure will hold 750 students, and plans were designed with future growth in mind to include an auxiliary gym, wider halls and other utilities to make expansion easier,” as stated in the News & Advance story, “Rustburg Middle School project breaks ground.”

At the beginning of the school year, Halifax County High School had an enrollment of 1,477 — so it’s safe to say we need a much bigger school than Rustburg.

Let’s take a look at New George Mason High School.

That school has a maximum operating capacity of 1,448, according to the Virginia Department of Education’s annual cost data report. That building and site cost a total of $85,783,598.

But, the overall project costs over $108 million.

A design-build team with companies Gilbane and Stantec worked on the project, and according to Gilbane’s website, it included counseling offices, performing arts, visual arts, athletic facilities, physical education, cafeteria, career and technical education, fabrication and robotics lab, maker space, core instruction spaces, library and media services and a café.

At the school board’s work session in August, Branch Builds estimated that the cost to build a new high school would be $118,812,400.

Yeah, that’s a $10 million difference from the Falls Church school, but maybe their estimate isn’t that far off.

And of course when building a school for Halifax County’s up and coming doctors, lawyers, welders and roofers, they need to make sure it has all of the assets needed to provide courses that appeal to a broad range of students.

I’m sure updated equipment is needed for career and technical courses as well as extra curricular activities.

I just hope that county supervisors and the school board spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely.

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at