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Beach OKs seeking loan for schools

The Colonial Beach Town Council Thursday night approved taking steps to borrow $2.1 million to pay to move the elementary school students over to the high school, improvements to the high school and other town improvements.

The vote came at a meeting during which nearly two dozen speakers told the Colonial Beach Town Council that they support the school system and want the town to fully fund the school’s requested budget.

But something likely not factored into the school budget for next year is the loan to pay to move the elementary school students from Oak Grove Baptist Church to the high school campus, and improvements to the high school.

A fire in January at the former high school left the elementary school in the collapse zone.

The 280 students, along with the staff of the school, moved over to the church for the remainder of the year.

But the town is beginning to make plans for next year.

Improvements to the high school and the cost to move the students would be paid for through a loan from the town.

Instead of a loan for just school improvements, Town Manager Val Foulds brought the council a resolution for the $2.1 million loan.

Of that, $1.1 million would be for school improvements and about $996,400 would be for other facilities and capital needs in the town.

It’s estimated to cost about $448,000 to relocate the elementary students to the high school campus and prepare the facilities for them.

Another $700,000 in renovations are planned at the high school. They include adding lights to the football field, lights in the parking lot, replacing doors and toilets and other improvements throughout the school.

Wednesday night, the School Board approved a resolution that transfers the property where the remains of the former high school stands to the Town Council in September. One possibility is that the town will sell the land and use that to pay back part of the loan.

The School Board hopes the elementary students’ modular classrooms could be moved to the current high school when classes start in the fall.

For a long-term solution, the School Board will begin exploring ways to build a new elementary school and where to locate it.

But that can’t happen until they learn what they will receive from the insurance settlement from the fire.

The resolution approved by the School Board was brought to the Town Council Thursday night.

That was the first time the panel saw the resolution in writing and made a commitment to move forward with the loan.

, when the town manager began seeking financing options from the Virginia Municipal League/Virginia Association of Counties.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413