School Board Chair’s Update on New High School Construction

By Clarke County School Board Chair, Robina Rich-Bouffault

As you all know, last July the General Contractors Howard Shockey & Sons won the bid for the construction of our new high school. Those of you who drive by know that rapid progress is being made on all fronts of construction.

However, there are apparently some – who don’t manage to come to our School Board meetings, and miss all of the construction information provided there in great detail twice a month – who are still asking basic questions concerning it. This is the reason for this up-date.

QUESTION: When will the new school be ready?
Currently, we are ahead of schedule – and hope to remain so, unless a harsh winter slows Shockey down.

  • The first completion phase “Substantial Completion” (where the building shell is completed) is scheduled for the end of December, 2011.
  • The second phase “Final Completion” is slated for March-April, 2012. This is when the major fixed equipment will have been installed – all a part of the Shockey contract.
  • Then comes the installation of the “Owner Supplied” equipment: which includes security cameras, computer systems, furniture, and a phone system that networks into our county system.
  • Final “Move-In” will take place after the current high school closes for the summer – starting in June, 2012. This will give us 3 months to shift over to our new high school, ready for the Fall 2012 semester.

ANSWER: Our students will be able to start the FALL 2012 SEMESTER in our new school.

QUESTION: THE SCHOOL CAPACITY – Will the new high school be big enough for our needs? Or “inadequate” as some say?

  • Built with a “core” (entry/administration, cafeteria, competition gymnasium, auditorium, library, athletic areas, Art classrooms and Technology) for 1,000 students.
  • A “regular” classroom (in the 2-story classroom wing) capacity for 800 – although please note that it is rated by the VDOE as having a capacity of 889 students, as they use a higher student/classroom ratio than we do.
  • A future addition of 8 classrooms is foreseen for the classroom wing   – and which will be built when needed.
  • All of the other facilities can already handle 1,000 students.
  • Total Square Footage of 162,000 sf, or more than 200 sq. ft. per student. FYI, the VDOE average for high schools is 175 sq. ft. per student.

ANSWER: The new high school is a BIG school, very spacious and well able to handle our future student population   for easily the next 20 years.

QUESTION: OUR STUDENT POPULATION – How fast is it increasing?

  • Our high school population is currently DECLINING, and has been doing so for the last four years. (see chart below).
  • In FY2007, (our highest year) we had a High School Fall Membership of 771 students.
  • This year (FY2011) we have a High School Fall Membership of 728 students.
  • Weldon-Cooper, the state agency that forecasts population growth and statistics, indicates that they see our school population continuing to decline or stagnant over the next ten years.

ANSWER: Our student population is not increasing, but decreasing, and is projected to continue doing so over the next ten years.

QUESTION: EQUIPMENT – How well will the new high school be equipped?

Some Examples (there are more):
Will it have smart boards in every classroom?                                     Answer:   Yes.
Will there be computer labs?                                                                                               Answer:   Yes – 3 of them.
Will there be computers in all classrooms?                                                 Answer:   Yes – 4 stations per classroom.
Will it have laptop carts available for students?                                 Answer:   Yes.
How many equipped science labs will there be?                                 Answer:     6, plus 1 science classroom.
How many equipped Tech/Ag labs will there be?                         Answer:     5, plus 1 Ag classroom
How many equipped Art Rooms?                                                                           Answer:   2, plus 1 kiln, prep room and 2 storage rooms.
Will it have a state-of-the-art security system?                                     Answer:   Yes, including 156 cameras, inside and out.
Will there be equipped visiting team locker rooms?                   Answer:     Yes (in addition to our regular locker rooms)
How many seats will the competition gym have?                         Answer:    1,000 bleacher seats.
Will there be equipped Weight/Wrestling rooms?                       Answer:     Yes.

The new high school will be extremely well-equipped.


  1. Madame Chairperson, perhaps the reason that “basic questions” are being asked can be attributed to the lack of timely information about what happens/is discussed in the School Board meetings. We were provided full detail of your recent court troubles, though we didn’t have time to come to the hearing. Why don’t you make sure we get timely information about the new school, we care about that far more.

    • That is a question that will need to be asked of CDN. They indeed covered the “court troubles” and reported in detail. They are also present at all SB meetings and receive a full copy of the construction information.

      However, please feel free, if there is anything you want to know that you feel has not been adequately covered. to e-mail any of the SB members with your questions – and if you would like to be on my constituents’ e-mail list, please forward your e-mail address to me and I will be happy to place you there. You will then receive the regular up-dates I send out to them concerning school construction (as this one is).


    • greenhousesupporter says:

      Madame Chairperson, Perhaps you are unaware of the current economic situation that many Clarke County residents are coping with. There are residents that are now commuting further distances to employment. With the School Board meetings being held on a weeknight at 7pm, some are just arriving home and have dinner to prepare, homework to oversee, etc. I would not think it too difficult for the School Board to make the info available in the media for those that are unable to make the meetings. Furthermore, I don’t think that the School Board particularly puts out the feeling of “the more the merrier.”
      As for your recent court issues, I did not agree that your comments were racially motivated, I feel that you are an equal opportunity offender.

  2. Quick! Print this article! Email it to yourself! Save a copy! Then pull it out in the summer of 2012 and see how much really happened.

    If it’s all true, cudos to the school board. If not, pin down the chair to live up to her words.

  3. Business Owner says:

    So Robina,

    Is it true about the price for the WeatherBug? If so how do you justify this?

  4. Fly on the wall says:

    Can you please explain the discrepancy between “â–  Built with a “core” (entry/administration, cafeteria, competition gymnasium, auditorium, library, athletic areas, Art classrooms and Technology) for 1,000 students” and the design of the auditorium for only 680 seats? Even if ya include the stage, that wouldn’t seem to get ya that much closer to 1,000.

    • check your facts says:

      Millbrook HS is built for 1200 students and their auditorium seats 800 – .66 seats to students.

      Future Clarke County HS – 1000 max capacity with 680 (at least – Fly’s number) seats in the auditorium -.68 seats to students. Comparable.

      Check LoCo for more information. They don’t build new schools with one seat per student in the auditorium either.

      We are doing pretty good considering no one wants to pay taxes anymore. You know what they say…put up or shut up.

      BTW, the CCEF, they put up.

    • livein22611 says:

      But then you’d complain about all the money that was “wasted” on an suditorium that is only being used for the entire school population about two or three times a year. School auditoriums are not built that way anymore.

  5. I agree that Ms. Bouffault was a bit rude in her approach as to why she was giving CDN this information, but at least she took the time out of her day to address it.

    • Business Owner says:

      Thats part of her Job! She was elected to that position, so she should want to get that info out there. By the way, you aren’t the only one who felt like she was kinda rude the way she came off. Forgive us Robina for not attending every SB meeting.

  6. Bill Thomas says:

    Bunch of whiners, moaners and plan old bumpkins on this site. If half of you spent more time coming up with solutions and recommendations instead of nitpicking the county would be better off.

    • Kevin Lambert says:

      I think a lot of us have came up with plenty of solutions Mr. Thomas! However, they are all met with resistance for some reason…. Care to elaborate???

      • Naked Truth says:

        There is more whinnig and complaining here especially. A lot of the coments are misinformation. How can you offer a solution to something that is not accurate? Most of the solutions pander to a minority anyway. Maybe the resistance you are incountering is because your opion does not suit the community as a whole? Go to the meetings if you want to be heard. Address the rest of the community that wants to be informed. Or get your information here. Your choice.