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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)
CHRISTIANSBURG - Montgomery County's governing body approved approximately $1.8 million Monday night for the future construction of an artificial turf softball field and accompanying softball and baseball facilities at Christiansburg High School.
The board of supervisors' 6-0 vote fulfills one of a handful of requests from the county's school district that will kick off a long-term renovation of the capacity-troubled high school.
Supervisors fulfilled another $2.1 million request in October that is slated to, among other things, pay for the addition of artificial turf and a rubberized track to the high school's football field. The remainder of the previous $2.1 million request is slated to pay for designs of the softball field and future concessions, restrooms and entrance improvements for the high school's outdoor athletic venues.
Slightly more than half of the $1.8 million supervisors approved Monday comes from the sale of the old Blacksburg High School on Patrick Henry Drive. The county sold the old high school to HS Development LLC, a firm formed by the owners of the Shelor Motor Mile dealership.
The old high school sold for $3 million, but the deal dictates the Shelor group pay for the site in separate installments. The first installment of $1 million was paid when the group closed on the property last month. The remaining payments will be due in 2019 and 2020.
The $1.8 million also includes $250,000 in proceeds from sales of various school-related properties. Some of those proceeds come from the sale of the former Prices Fork Elementary School, which is currently being transformed into a mixed-use development that will offer age-restricted housing, a new brewery and space for entrepreneurs involved in the food business.
The remainder of the $1.8 million - $588,040 - comes from a future school projects fund that the county fills with a fraction of its property tax revenue. That purse has funded the ongoing renovation and expansion of Falling Branch Elementary School in Christiansburg.
Not all of the $1.8 million, however, will go toward Christiansburg High School. A portion, $53,073, will reimburse the county for expenses the locality incurred to maintain its former academic properties.
School officials revealed earlier this year that the addition of the football turf and rubberized track is slated to start during spring 2018. The softball and baseball projects would begin the following year.
The work at the football field and track is expected to allow for more practices on the field and give the high school the opportunity to host more track competitions.
The athletic projects will be but a fraction of a $67 million to $75 million plan to renovate and bring a new academic building and gym to Christiansburg High School. The biggest phases of the high school project aren't slated to occur until the early- to mid-2020s, when the county will again be able to take on capital debt.
In other business Monday, the board of supervisors received a presentation on a proposal to build a new station for the Riner Volunteer Fire Department. The station, which the county's planning commission backed on a 5-2 vote, would be located on Virginia 8, across the road from the Auburn Hills Golf Club.
Supervisors also discussed a plan to purchase new radios for the volunteer fire departments in Riner, Elliston and Blacksburg. The new radios would also benefit the volunteer fire and rescue operations in Shawsville.
Supervisors decided to push action on the radios to a meeting in March to give the county's fire and rescue commission more time to review the cost of the radios and integrating the upgraded system with the regional 911 center. Some supervisors, however, stressed that time is of the essence for the new radios because the system addresses a public safety need.
Board Chairman Chris Tuck said the radios need to be purchased soon because changing federal regulations can mandate new frequency requirements in the near future and render the new system moot.
"When you can't communicate, it costs people's lives," Supervisor Mary Biggs said. "I really think that it needs to be done."
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