Adding classrooms not schools makes sense

As an architect with more than 40 years of experience, I’d like to point something out concerning school renovations: Classrooms are the least expensive to build while kitchens, gyms, etc. are the most expensive. Classrooms also are the easiest and least expensive to renovate: case in point the newly completed James Blair renovation.

I remember those James Blair classrooms from when I was a kid. Imagine that they were the least expensive to build, but they also lasted a lot longer than the rest of the school.

Yes, expanding a school might be a temporary solution, but it is far less expensive than building a new school because the projections say that elementary schools will be overcapacity by 82 students. Adding a couple of classrooms to all the elementary schools would also save the feeder system balance without all the problems of dividing the students between two or more middle schools as the students get older.

In the future, adding a couple of classrooms to elementary then middle then high schools in small increments over time will be far, far more cost effective and less disruptive than simply adding entire schools for every very small increment of student growth.

Zan L Cartwright

James City County

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