Facility inequity major topic of discussion at W-JCC School Board meeting

WILLIAMSBURG- Lafayette High School’s facilities became a recurring theme of the evening at Tuesday night’s Williamsburg-James City County School Board meeting.

A grassroots effort led by members of the Lafayette Booster Club has raised the issue of the school's older, out-of-date facilities over the past several months.

During Tuesday night's citizen comment period, Lafayette Booster Club President Kathy Woollum and Treasurer Kristan Holm both spoke about the inequity between Lafayette, which does not have a practice auxiliary gym or field lighting, and the two other high schools in the district.

Holm said the lack of practice space put Lafayette students at a disadvantage. Students at Lafayette currently practice at the gym at James Blair, which will be converted into a new middle school in the coming year. 

Board member Mary Minor (Powhatan) commented on seeing the band practice in the evening by the light of car headlights. 

As the Board discussed picking a contractor to complete the demolition at James Blair, Board Member Julie Hummel (Williamsburg) reiterated the concerns presented by Woollum and Holm.  

“What will happen once James Blair is built and the gym is mostly used by James Blair students?” asked Hummel.

Board Chair Jim Kelly said the auxiliary gym was, in his mind, the second most important facility issue in the county.

“My hope is that there would be a practice gym built at Lafayette by the time the James Blair facility is built,” Kelly said.  “After the fourth middle school, the auxiliary gym is the number one thing.”

At the close of the meeting Kelly asked Superintendent Steve Constantino to begin to look into the cost of architectural drawings for the auxiliary gym.

However, Woollum and Holm both said after the meeting that while they were pleased to hear the support of the School Board, until the gym made its way into the county's plans, they would not be satisfied. 

"We keep letting people know, this has been a request for 18 years," said Holm. "It's just now there we have an urgent reason for it to be done, since James Blair is going to become a middle school." 

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