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Historical designation sought for school facility

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Meeting in special session on Sept. 19, the Colonial Beach School Board postponed its application for historical designation of the middle school. At the start of the 2011-2012 school year, an earthquake, Hurricane Irene and flood damage from Tropical Storm Lee, along with years of neglect, led to the closing of the middle school building.

Colonial Beach. Home of the Drifters.

The former high school was deemed to be unfit for student use and students were shuffled until the new middle school “ModPod” – a modular campus – was put into place behind the present day High School.

Prior to construction of the new high school facility in the late 1980s, the middle school served as the town’s high school. It has existed at its present location since the early 1900s. The town received a $10,000 grant to go towards repair of damages that were brought about by Mother Nature, but many of the repairs needed are from earlier damage and neglect and are not covered by those funds.

If the building were to receive federal historical designation, this could pave the way for future funding and grants to help repair the building. Federal funding for historical sites varies greatly, so there are no guarantees of funding in the future.

In other business on Sept. 19, the school board approved a contract with 360 Degree Customer Inc. to provide speech therapy services. The school system is required to provide speech therapy to students per their individual education profiles (IEP.) Ruth Brozgal is the therapist with 360 Degree Customer Inc. who will be providing these services at a rate of $65 per hour, at 35 hours for work for the 2012-2013 school year. Brozgal will provide direct therapy, but also recommend other therapies, and equipment needed to help students reach their personal speech goals.

The final issue was the lease of a 2013 Freightliner school bus from Sonny Merryman Inc. The contract is set to begin on Oct. 1 and run, with a yearly renewal, until June 30, 2017. This will bring the number of buses in the school system to a total of 10 with seven being used for regular daily routes. As stated at the last regular meeting, the town school bus routes are filled to capacity and the school system is looking to hire a new bus driver. According to Richard Turnstall, head of transportation and maintenance, the last time they looked they had only three applications and none of the applicants were able to pass the required tests to become a driver.