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All county residents benefit from Goochland having a top-notch school system. Residential real estate listings typically identify public schools in the area, so a good school system helps with residential home values. In addition, businesses want to locate in a place with a good school system and business growth is good for the county's tax base.
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The new Goochland Elementary School will be designed to meet the core purpose of instruction. The Goochland School District is known as a division of excellence and our goal is to build a school that reflects that core value; a building that the community can be proud of yet remains within the budget.
No. The request for up to $60 million in borrowing authority is based on an expectation that the School Division would borrow approximately $34.5 million for the new elementary school, approximately $21.5 million for renovations to the current Middle and High Schools, and approximately $4 million for road and parking lot upgrades to improve traffic flow along Bulldog Way. Each project costs more than the amount we anticipate borrowing; we are also cash funding approximately 10% of the total project cost as a prudent financial practice.
The current Goochland Elementary School will be repurposed to be used as additional office space for county departments and agencies.
Goochland County Public Schools (GCPS) is committed to protecting the community's investment in its school facilities. However, not only do facilities wear out over time, but they also become outdated. This facility needs specific renovations to meet the technological and instructional needs of our high school program in the future. Furthermore, as the population in Goochland grows, so does our high school enrollment. GCPS finds itself in a higher class of athletic competition which demands more facilities for more teams as well as more spaces for specialized fine arts, career and technology classes. GCPS, therefore, needs to expand and renovate our county-wide high school to be an effective and efficient learning environment for another 20 or 30 years.
The current County 25-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) includes a replacement school for Byrd in 2033-2034 which means that it will not be ready for students until the 2035-36 school year or later. The current CIP has a replacement for Randolph in 2037-2038 which means that it will not be ready for students until the 2039-40 school year or later.
All county residents benefit from Goochland having an excellent school system. The new Goochland Elementary School will be a centralized location for division-wide elementary school activities and is being built to accommodate the increased student enrollment in Goochland since all elementary schools are at capacity. Redistricting will occur so that temporary trailers and overcrowded classrooms at Byrd and Randolph can be relieved. Therefore, some families in the Byrd and Randolph school districts may be placed in the Goochland school district.
Byrd and Randolph students will also benefit from the projects being funded at the Middle and High school, including safety improvements to Bulldog Way and the parking lots, and the additional facilities and modernizations planned for the Middle and High schools.
The new Bulldog Way road improvements will relieve a lot of the traffic congestion at the Middle-High School complex. The improvements are being made with the safety of students as the top priority.
Third-party engineering firms have determined that Goochland Elementary School (GES) is the school that has the most system (HVAC, electrical, plumbing) and programmatic issues. Even after critical renovations in 2017, GES is the first of our three elementary schools that need to be replaced. There is no gymnasium at the current school and the library is the size of a classroom. Students in our preschool programs and students who are walking to physical education classes cross a busy parking lot in all weather conditions. Furthermore, as the population in Goochland grows, so does our elementary school enrollment. As a centralized location, Goochland ES will be built with a capacity of 650 students to accommodate future growth.
The proposed road improvements to Bulldog Way are to add additional turn lanes to improve the flow of vehicles going to and from the current and future school facilities. Ensuring adequate turn lanes for access to a facility is the responsibility of the developer of the facility and not VDOT. Accordingly, the improvements to Bulldog Way are not the type of improvements that VDOT would undertake or fund, but have to be provided by the School Division. The funds earmarked for transportation improvements will not only provide sufficient turn lanes to ensure safe access to the new Goochland Elementary School, but also additional turn lanes and parking lot improvements to provide for better traffic flow at the Middle School/High School complex.
The new Goochland Elementary School, Bulldog Way turn lanes and Middle School/High School parking lot expansion are in the preliminary design phase. It is anticipated that traffic flow improvements for the Middle School/High School complex will be completed in the next 18 months. With no delay in funding decisions, the new Goochland Elementary School should be ready for students in August 2024. We will begin preliminary design of the high school additions and renovations in Fall 2023 with construction anticipated to start a year later and occurring over several years.