Forum on new school helps inform New Kent residents
New Kent’s School Board hosted a public forum Monday night on the proposed new elementary school located in the western part of the county.
Being constructed just off Route 249 (New Kent Highway), the new school is expected to cost $28 million to construct, with an additional cost of up to $7 million for site plans, architecture, and contingency.
“As you know, New Kent is the second fastest growing locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Superintendent of Schools Brian Nichols. “The design of this school will allow us to add on without bringing trailers onto the property like we have at the other schools.”
Currently, there are 3,354 students enrolled in New Kent Public Schools. Of that amount, approximately 770 (accounting for 45 in pre-K) are housed at New Kent Elementary School, while 749 are educated inside the walls of George Watkins Elementary School. The new school will be able to hold 770 students in its inaugural state and have the ability to add more.
More than 25 questions were asked through cards and verbal inquiries from approximately 50 people in attendance. Among them included handicap accessibility, effect on traffic on both New Kent Highway and Quaker Road, the chosen design for the school, and safety measures.
Nichols also said that the process of naming the school is underway.
“We are now accepting suggestions,” the superintendent said, pointing to guidelines regulated under policies established by the school. “It can’t be named for anybody currently living. It can be named for a deceased member who has been passed away for at least 10 years, and it can also be named for location. The most important thing is that the suggestion must be in writing.”
Nichols also said that suggestions are welcomed through the school’s website, as a link has been established for feedback. He added that a committee will be formed to discuss the naming of the building.
Two more community meetings about the proposed school will be held in the month of October. The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17 at New Kent’s Visitor Center, and the second is scheduled for Oct. 23 at Providence Forge Community Center.