Photos by Kymn Davidson-Hamley
CHRISTIANSBURG – Montgomery County leaders officially broke ground Tuesday on a planned $80 million expansion at Christiansburg High School.
While the project was approved in 2022, the discussion dates over 10 years ago. Thus, many of the speakers at this week’s groundbreaking used the word “finally”.
School Board member Jamie Bond told onlookers this school is something both students and the community can be proud of.
“Keeping this location was so important,” she said.
Bond said Christiansburg parents, students and the community had been waiting for this to happen. Shane Guynn, the CHS principal, said good things come to those that wait.
At the heart of the project are new classrooms, which increase the capacity of the school by more than 400 students. Major upgrades include more window space—a direct opposite to the current school’s brick front.
School Board member Penny Franklin said that is a major upgrade so more natural light will be available to the building as a whole.
The architectural firm, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, designed the facility and says a key challenge and guiding principle to the Christiansburg High School was to modernize an educational facility from a traditional classroom into open, modern learning spaces which provide a high level of flexibility for the teachers and students.
A statement from the company said: “additions and renovations to the school will not only modernize the building it will also provide additional space to accommodate increasing enrollment.”
The 222,100-square-foot school was built in 1972 and has a current capacity of 800 students. The renovated school will have a capacity of 1,600 students. The new school will provide new modern learning environments, a new front entrance, a new auxiliary gymnasium and overall improved wayfinding and organization.
The goal of the project is to add a new main entrance and administrative suite, two story classroom wing, cafeteria dining and kitchen along Independence Drive for the most advantageous phasing and to provide a new face to the high school.
Dr. Bernard Bragen, superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, said this has definitely been needed.
“We want to provide the learning spaces that are appropriate for our staff and students to be successful and in addition, we’re going to increase the capacity in that school to have a few more students as well,” he said.
After the renovation, officials from the school said it would be a shell of what we see today.
“It will, in effect, be a brand-new building,” said Bragen. “Our schools are a showcase for our community. They’re the center of the hub where people come to meet.”
Work is expected to span over the next two years with students walking into the building by the 2026-27 school year.
But Guynn pointed out some of the renovated areas could be open before then, with the entire school being in 2025.
“It will include some areas being occupied before the entire new structure is completed,” he said.
Passersby will see the project develop in the front parking area of the current school.