Looking into 2019: Hamilton-Holmes renovation projected to finish in March; county focuses on other projects

aluck@tidewaterreview.com

With the renovation of Hamilton-Holmes Middle School expected to finish in March; King William is looking at other, smaller projects to tackle in 2019.

Those projects include the expansion of the Route 30 trash transfer site, an isolation room for contagious animals at the Regional Animal Shelter, maintenance to 10 county buildings and planning/preparing for the county’s 911 service to change in 2020, according to county administrator Bobbie Tassinari.

Broadband, 911 service

Broadband internet from Lumos Networks will come to county complexes in a few weeks and was available in schools Jan. 3.

Tassinari said while there are no plans for Lumos to run more fiber throughout the county, there is still $225,000 in capital funding for broadband initiatives and the county is open to other projects.

The county will start work on a new 911 dispatch service, part of the state’s Next Generation 911 project, which allows for location and time specific data, easy call transfers and mapping systems for localities’ 911 dispatch systems.

The plan was developed for localities by the state’s emergency 911 services board and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency; some localities, such as Fairfax County, will go live with the services this year, according to VITA’s website.

The service moves local 911 dispatch from analog systems to internet service systems so calls can be transferred and not missed when a dispatch or station is not available, according to Tassinari.

The county will start preparations for the project in 2019, and the service will begin in January 2020. The project costs $834,344.17, which will be paid by the state’s 911 service board.

The county’s monthly rate for 911 service will go from $1,441.96 to $4,416.96 when the project is complete. The state’s 911 service board will pay localities the difference in the rates for 24 months once the service is up and running. For King William, that will be $2,975 monthly, according to Tassinari.

Other projects

A 10-acre site on Route 30 near the high school will have maintenance work done, such as bulldozing, placing concrete, a gravel road laid and lighting for the expansion of the trash transfer site, according to Tassinari.

The maintenance work will cost $75,000 and help with congestion and traffic at the trash site.

The county will work on building an isolation room for contagious animals at the Regional Animal Shelter, as it’s part of a new regulatory requirement by the state’s Department of Animal Care and Emergency Response. The room and new kennels will cost about $150,000, according to Tassinari.

Dragon Run

Another project that is expected to finish this year is Dragon Run Brewing, according to Tassinari.

The permitting process for the project began last February and has been drawn out due to time consuming processes in outside agencies and turnover in the county, according to owner Thomas Adkins. The project is waiting for approval of the site plan from Virginia Department of Transportation.

“This is the last main hurdle with our permit for construction, with the state or county,” Adkins said. “We and the county are working hard to make sure every ‘I’ is dotted and ‘T’ is crossed.”

Adkins said the government shutdown has slowed the process.

"While the shutdown is happening we are unable to acquire the necessary licenses from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is currently closed,” Adkins said.

Once VDOT approves the site plan, the county can grant Adkins a construction permit and work can begin, according to Adkins.

The brewery recently purchased equipment to make 310 gallons of every batch of beer brewed. The brewery will also have smaller brewing system for test batches, according to Adkins.

With the government shutdown delaying the process, Adkins said he hopes to start construction soon and open the brewery before July.

The county also expects to update the county ordinances, comprehensive plan and master utility plan, as well as revamp the county website.

Hamilton-Holmes

Part of the Hamilton-Holmes Middle School renovation project was completed over winter break and students came back to school this month to a new sixth-grade wing.

The school also got a new art room, clinic and classrooms in both the seventh- and eighth-grade wings.

“They were so excited and appreciative,” Principal Tina Rudd said. “It was almost like one last Christmas present.”

The new classrooms feature collaborative table desks for students to work together in class and HD TV’s with document viewers to view documents on the TV screen.

Construction of the new cafeteria, three new courtyards, a graphic arts classroom, front entrance security vestibule and School Board offices is currently underway.

All of the grade wings will lead to the new cafeteria, which has an increased capacity for students, tons of windows and natural light and a stage for presentations and meetings.

“This cafeteria will be the belle of our ball,” Rudd said. “The community can use it for meetings and shows as well, it also gives us room for growth.”

Several parts of the school’s roof need repair and replacement, which will take place after school lets out for summer in June, according to Rudd.

“The main construction and renovation parts will be done by March hopefully,” she said. “We have not hit winter yet so you never know.”

The middle school renovation project began last summer and has cost the county $10.8 million.

Meanwhile, school officials are assessing all four school buildings and facilities this year, according to Superintendent David White.

“We have found out we have not kept up with the maintenance of our buildings, unfortunately,” White said. “We want to know where we stand with the conditions of our schools.”

The assessments include roofs (except for Hamilton-Holmes), exterior and interior paint and heating and air conditioning systems, according to White.

Other than finishing up Hamilton-Holmes and assessing school buildings, the division will focus on improving Standards of Learning test scores for math and reading at the middle and high schools, as well as a new five-year comprehensive plan.

The division is also looking at capital improvements for fiscal year 2019-2020 such as three new buses, one new special needs student bus and security upgrades according to White.

Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, aluck@tidewaterreview.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter

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