Looking ahead: New Kent eyes broadband expansion, school capital projects in 2017

County leaders aim to lay the groundwork for several major projects this year, ranging from broadband to economic development to schools.

A study on what it will take to bring expanded broadband service to New Kent will be presented to the board of supervisors early this year. The report complies data on state and federal funding options for the project, as well as information on coverage needs, said Rodney Hathaway, county administrator.

Close to half the county has internet access through broadband provided by Cox Cable and DSL from Verizon, Hathaway said.

County schools are slated for several capital improvement projects. Among them renovations to New Kent Middle School and a new roof at New Kent Elementary School.

Plans are underway to bring five new classrooms to the middle school for the 2018-2019 school year. The School Board will present a cost for the project to the board of supervisors possibly next week and work on the project will begin later this year, Superintendent David Myers said.

Roof replacement work at New Kent Elementary is scheduled to begin this summer and $505,000 has been appropriated for the project. The project will replace most of the school's roof and is part of a series of major renovations over the next few years, Myers said.

The county is also looking to take economic advantage of a couple large arcage sites near the interstate in 2017.

Two privately held sites, each with hundreds of acres of space, have been identified as possible locations for large-scale economic development. While various possibilities are being considered, the locations could find use as the site of warehouse or manufacturing facilities, Hathaway said.

The the process to determine whether the land is developable is now underway, Hathaway said.

The sites are located at exist 211 and exit 220, Hathaway said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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