Board explores loan for new Windsor school

Published 10:54 am Saturday, November 20, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors on Thursday authorized the school division to apply to see whether it is eligible for a $15 million interest-free loan toward the possible construction of a new Windsor Middle School.

“This does not obligate the county in any way,” Windsor District Supervisor Tom Wright said. “All it does is give them permission to file for an interest-free loan.”

The supervisors gave the OK with a vote of 3-1, with Smithfield District Supervisor Al Casteen opposing. Former Chairman Phillip Bradshaw didn’t participate in discussions of school matters during the meeting because he was recently hired as the division’s chief financial officer.

School officials say a replacement school is necessary because of issues in the school with harmful substances, including lead and asbestos, and substandard and crowded facilities.

“When this building was built 61 years ago, it was minimal quality even in those days,” Principal Susan Goetz said.

Windsor Middle School teacher Jill Mizelle showed the board a photo slideshow comparing Smithfield and Windsor middle schools.

“What we would like is just to be able to offer the students on the southern end of the county equal educational opportunities,” she said.

Renovating the current building to accommodate 550 students would cost $22 million, according to a committee that studied both options for the School Board. A new building is expected to cost $23 million.

The Board of Supervisors also directed county officials to work with school officials to provide the board with a proposed timetable for replacing the school.