Windsor High still unaffected by board’s decision on zoning

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Isle of Wight County Schools still does not expect any setbacks to its time-line or budget for Windsor High School’s career and technical education facilities as a result of the county Board of Supervisors’ decision concerning Smithfield.

At a special called meeting on Aug. 3, the supervisors voted 4-1 to accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the division’s request for exemption from county zoning ordinances pertaining to building materials and exterior walls for two of its three proposed outbuildings to be constructed behind Smithfield High School.

The first two, which received approval for exemption, were a new JROTC field house and a multi-use pavilion intended for use in conjunction with Smithfield’s new career and technical education classes. However, the third, a football field house, will now be required to have one side be 100 percent brick, in addition to the three-foot-high brick skirts the division’s architect was already proposing for all sides of the buildings.

The dissenting vote came from Windsor District Supervisor Joel Acree. Newport District Supervisor William McCarty was the one who suggested using 100 percent brick on one side as a compromise with the division.

McCarty said he did not feel the proposed buildings would be unattractive with the metal siding but that the football field house needed to make a good impression on visiting teams and guests.

Several other supervisors also felt it would be inappropriate for the county to exempt itself, and by extension, the school division, from zoning ordinances to which all other businesses and organizations in the county are held.

The division had initially requested the exemption to save money and keep all three buildings within their allotted budget by using metal siding, which county zoning ordinances specifically prohibit for buildings in the Newport Development Service District.

“The cost savings will be small due to the brick covering 100 percent on one side of the field house, but we are very appreciative to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for the cooperation and the approximate $100,000 in savings on the other two buildings,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton.

Isle of Wight County Schools’ director of gifted services, community and media relations, Lynn Briggs, added that the timeline for the construction of the field house may now need to be pushed back one month, but that this decision should not affect any other projects at Smithfield or at Windsor.