New school for Windsor

Published 10:19 am Friday, May 13, 2011

ISLE OF WIGHT—The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted 3-2 to borrow $28 million, of which $23 million will go to building a new Windsor Middle School.

Supervisors Thomas Wright of the Windsor District, Stan Clark of the Newport District and Kenneth Bunch of the Carrsville District voted in favor of borrowing the money, including a $7.5 million interest-free loan from the state. Supervisors JoAnn Hall of the Hardy District and Al Casteen of the Smithfield District voted against it.

School officials have said a replacement school is necessary because of issues in the 62-year-old building with harmful substances, including lead and asbestos, and substandard and crowded facilities.

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

Approving the loan will not mean an increase in real estate taxes until 2014. The owner of a property assessed at $100,000 in 2014 will pay $10 more; in 2015, an additional $20; and in 2017, an additional $30.

Kimberly Cussick, a teacher at Windsor Middle School, spoke in favor of building the new school.

“A lot of comments have been focused on the debt,” Cussick said. “It’s not just about the debt; this is an investment in the education of our children. Children who are on the south side of the county deserve the same quality as those on the north side.”

It’s been suggested that some of the middle school students be transferred to Windsor High School.

Cussick noted that was tried when the high school was built in the early 1990s, and it didn’t work.

Tom Gaskell of Zuni noted that the high school is at 68 percent capacity. Gaskell said he’s not against building the new middle school, but feels there’s room for those students at the high school.

Construction of the school is expected to take two years.