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Colonial Beach discusses moving students

Colonial Beach Schools Superintendent Kathleen Beane on Thursday night showed elementary parents plans to move their children from Oak Grove Baptist Church over to the high school campus.

The 280 elementary students have been attending class at Oak Grove Baptist Church, in Westmoreland since January.

The modular units where the elementary school students were housed were near the former high school, which burned in a fire in January.

The elementary buildings were in the collapse zone of the burned building and the students had to be relocated to the church for the remainder of the school year.

Now, school officials are talking about moving the elementary students over to the high school campus on First Street.

A site plan showed that two modular buildings would be used for classrooms, one for a library, one for an office and one for a multipurpose gym and cafeteria.

The school division will be divided into two parts, like it used to be: pre-K through seventh grade, and eighth through twelfth grades, but they will all be on one campus.

The eighth graders will move into the high school building and the pre-K through seventh grades will be on a different part of the campus.

The two large modular buildings for the elementary school children each have eight classrooms, offices, and bathrooms and are each 9,100 square feet each.

The building for the library and the one for the multipurpose gym and cafeteria will each be 2,160 square feet.

The office space will be 800 square feet.

Beane said she hopes the longest that the students will be in the modular buildings is three years, and then a new school will be built.

“I’m trying to convince the Town Council that ‘modular’ is temporary,” she told about 25 parents Thursday night.

“I don’t want to see us in these modular buildings longer than we have to,” she said.

Even before the fire, school officials were talking about moving the elementary students over to the high school.

Parents asked if there would be a playground at the new school location.

Beane said there is already a playground there, but it’s rusty and the one at the site where the elementary school was is likely not suitable either.

She said the school system has been applying for grants and could also possibly use money collected from donations to pay for a playground.

Parents asked about security at the high school campus, and Beane said that school officials are working to improve it as well.

She talked about a separate bus drop-off area for the elementary school students, but the location depends on if paving can be done.

“My hope is that we are ready to roll Sept. 2,” Beane told the parents.

The backup plan is that the students would remain at the church.

All the work should be able to be done over the summer, beginning in mid-May. If there were delays, it would have to be determined if school would be delayed or if the students would remain at the church, depending on the delay.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413