After years of community debate and indecision, on Friday afternoon at 3:12 pm EST the Clarke County School Board executed a contract with Shockey and Sons, Inc. of Winchester, Virginia to build a new county high school.

“I’ve never been so thrilled to spend so much money in my life” said School Board member Emily Rhodes (Buckmarsh).

According to representatives from Shockey present for the contract signing, there are many reasons to believe that the construction project will result in a superior high school facility.

Shockey Construction CEO Don Cooper and Clarke County School Board Chairperson Robina Bouffault execute contract for the new high school - Photo Edward Leonard

Shockey chief executive officer Don Copper said “During good economic times construction companies are always busy and don’t always have resource availability when they need it. Right now the construction industry is not busy and has plenty of resources to put the best people on the job.”

Asked how Shockey was able to deliver a bid price that was $7M under Clarke County’s budget Cooper replied “We’re wondering about that ourselves. Sometimes things just line up perfectly.”

Shockey has an excellent reputation for quality and reliability throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley and constructed six new high schools last year alone. Shockey and Sons also built Clarke County’s existing high school in 1987.

Howard Shockey, the company’s founder is a resident of Clarke County. Long-time Shockey employee Bill Thomas has been designated as project manager for the contract.

“It’s an exhilarating moment” said School Board Chairperson Robina Bouffault. “A five woman board has achieved the long-awaited school. Now we will look at how to use the extra money to address the elementary school and add the eight additional classrooms to the new building.

“We’ve been told by several members of the Board of Supervisors to be frugal” Bouffault added.

Shockey CEO Cooper said that the official date of commencement for the project is July 26th but some preliminary work will commence sooner. “We’re planning on doing some initial surveying and cutting a construction entrance for the site prior to the official start date.”

At the conclusion of the contract signing Cooper told the School Board “Clarke County is right down the road from our hometown and this is the perfect project for us.”

“Does that mean that this is going to be an example of how a school should be built?” replied Bouffault.

“Absolutely” replied Cooper.

Other Business

The School Board unanimously approved a scheduled payment of $86K to project architect Crabtree Rohrbaugh Associates and a payment of $19K to consultants Gannett Fleming and Urban for last minute site plan changes to accommodate Virginia Department of Transportation site modifications.


  1. Jim Gibson says:

    Well! This finalpiece of the puzzle is a welcome thing. Though there are a few who are urging folks to be “frugal” with the $7 million balance, they need to remember that “being frugal” in the past resulted in substandard designs, shoddy workmanship, and inadequate results. We have the finances to build a new high school that befits CCPS’ solid academic reputation, and to consider some other long-needed facility improvements.

    Let’s get the job done right, instead of just getting it done cheaply. It’s great that Shockey & Sons will build this school. This, and the Barns work, will really help the local economy, too. Finally, some bright days for our community.

  2. H**L has frozen over.

  3. Let’ not forget higher taxes!

    • Lonnie Bishop says:

      You seem to forget that it takes that sort of funding to get the job done. It’s no different than when the funds were needed to build the new joint admin building, or to renovate the courthouse, or anything else. Come on.

      This is a significant investment the community is making in the education of its children. It’s also the lynchpin to get some other needed school facility upgrades closer to a reality. For once in this county’s recent history, the schools actually have enough funding to do the job right the first time.

      • Of course it takes that sort of funding, and where does it come from? Your taxes will increase, simple fact. And in 2 years after the school project it will probably be some new project, and yes, your taxes will increase again. It all falls on the citizens in this county, because there really are no businesses to share in the burden. Why are there no significant employers in this county? Please someone answer that for me. American Woodmark, Berryville Graphics, all going away. Does the county create any incentive for business to locate here?

        • Lonnie Bishop says:

          Part of the reason is that there are no major highways (i.e. I-81 or such) that run through Clarke County. Part of the reason is the much-ballyhooed sliding-scale zoning put in place in this community years ago, that greatly restricts commercial activity to the area around Berryville, Boyce, Waterloo, and Double Tollgate (for utilities purposes). Part of it is the insistance on the Town to force all businesses downtown, with its limited parking options, small spaces, and delivery-truck unfriendliness on Main Street.

          The needs for updated facilities don’t stop just because we want them to. You gotta make the investments when they’re needed. Remember the old library? Compare it to the new one. Likewise the courthouse before and after its renovation, and Town Hall before and after.

          • I would say the Rt. 7/Rt.340 Corridor is pretty [redacted] busy! I would at least like to have the opportunity to stop and get a Sausage McMuffin for my ride to work! If you know what I mean?

          • 3 votes out of 9 and the 6 that voted NO!—they would be the first ones cutting in line to get their coffee and McMuffin!

    • hoops fan says:

      is it not our job as county residence to educate our children…yes it cost money to educate kids Jim…

  4. Well, that wasn’t so hard now was it?

  5. Tony Parrott says:

    This has been a long and sometimes very painful process. At times it has put friends and neighbors on opposite sides of the fence. I’m glad this chapter is closed. Now onto finishing the job and doing it right!