MCPS seeks public input for future Christiansburg projects

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Above is a drawing of what the renovated Christiansburg High School would look like under the plan Superintendent Dr. Mark Miear presented at a school board meeting June 20.

Montgomery County Public Schools will be seeking community input for upcoming capital projects in Christiansburg schools at a meeting Tuesday night.


MCPS has a recommended plan in place that would include extensive renovation to Christiansburg High School as opposed to building a brand new building.

The first phase of the plan involves renovating football and soccer field, complete with turf grounding and a rubberized track for an estimated $1.5 million.

At a school board meeting in June, Miear said that turf has become the standard and is easier to maintain.

“A lot of people look at turf as being a luxury, but it’s not a luxury anymore,” Miear said. “It is what most high schools are doing now. It makes a lot of sense for the Christiansburg community.”

The project is projected to begin in the spring so as to be ready for the 2018 season.

The next step would be to build a new softball field estimated at $600,000. The start date for this wouldn’t be until summer 2019 and the field would be built where the current football practice field is located. However, the idea is to have the new football field already finished so that the team wouldn’t need the practice field, and it would be open for the softball field construction, Miear said.

An additional aspect of this project is that it would help to create a stadium setup for games. A more gated stadium would force people to have to pay to see the games, whereas with the current setup anyone can have a decent view of a game without paying.

After that, building new locker rooms, concessions stands and stadium entrance (estimated $1 million) similar to the structure of the Blacksburg High School facilities is on the docket for a spring 2020 start date. Miear noted at the meeting in June that coaches and athletes currently do not have quick access to a bathroom, which can be problematic during games.

A new academic building and gym at the high school, as well as a new elementary school are scheduled to begin between 2022-2025. The seven-year construction plan would allow a budget for building the new elementary school (estimated $39-43 million) by renovating the current high school for approximately $67-75 million.

The plans and start dates are contingent on approval from the Board of Supervisors, which are expected to vote on the matter later this year.

Falling Branch elementary is currently undergoing a $10.5 million renovation that began a few months ago and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

Among other additions and renovations, the project is adding 17 new classrooms, and increasing the size of both the library and cafeteria.

The project will add about 28,500 square feet to the school’s existing size of 57,000 square feet. Falling Branch currently uses nine mobile units and the extra space will help solve concerns over both student population growth and security.

Funds for the majority of the projects are still not available, as the county has been tied up paying the bonds that were needed to build a new middle school and high school in Blacksburg. The latter was not planned, but was needed after the gymnasium roof collapsed following a snowstorm in 2010.

Currently, the county takes aside approximately $1.5 million generated from real estate taxes for future school capital projects. The consideration of a two-cent increase in real estate taxes proposed by Supervisor Mary Biggs (District F) that would have doubled the amount going towards future projects was voted down 4-3 in March.

The public input meeting will at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Christiansburg High School (100 Independence Blvd. NW). For more information, visit www.mcps.org.