Looking into 2019: West Point hopes for ongoing trend of new businesses, town hall renovations; schools continue improvement projects

aluck@tidewaterreview.com

West Point hopes to continue the trend of new businesses coming to town in the new year.

Six new businesses opened in West Point this year: Anchors Away Antiques & Collectibles, Achilles Foot & Ankle Center, The Blue Crab restaurant, Main Attraction Salon, The Dollar Tree and health store Speak Life Health Food.

Town manager John Edwards said the town hopes to draw even more businesses in the new year as existing businesses draw attention to the town through events and social media.

“We had a great year for small businesses in town,” Edwards said. “We hope to continue that into (2019), keep up the momentum, get more businesses downtown and keep growing as a whole.”

The town has two small capital improvement projects planned for 2019: making improvements to Town Hall and building a pavilion for the farmers market, according to Edwards.

“These were both in the 2018-2019 budget but are beginning in 2019,” Edwards said.

Improvements to the interior and exterior of Town Hall include replacing the roof for $30,000, interior renovations for $25,000 and interior painting and ceiling improvements for a combined $15,000.

Town hall improvements will start in the spring/summer of 2019 and continue into 2020, according to Edwards.

Work soon will start at the farmer’s market, improvements include adding a pavilion and laying groundwork for a fountain for $50,000.

Other capital projects include small upgrades to roads, including repairing potholes and some repaving as well as other maintenance around town, Edwards said.

The town has a few capital projects planned for 2019-2020, which will be revealed during the budget season beginning this month.

Schools

West Point Public Schools will continue work on two capital improvement projects into 2019: continue the auditorium heating, ventilation and air conditioning system replacement project and continue bathroom renovations in all of the schools according to superintendent Laura Abel.

“We are going into phase two of the auditorium HVAC replacement,” Abel said. “This includes a new indoor heating system for the auditorium. The current seven-stage boiler heating system is powered by fuel oil and will be replaced with a more efficient natural gas alternative.”

The school replaced the auditorium’s outside chiller system last summer and is moving through bathroom renovations in all of the schools; work in the elementary school bathrooms begins this month, according to Abel.

The division also will begin to replace aging smartboards in the classrooms, which will take a few years to complete.

As a focus for 2019, Abel said the division will continue to focus on providing a nurturing and safe learning environment for students; it also will emphasize new attendance standards provided by the Virginia Department of Education.

“Excused and unexcused absences counting as the same is a new paradigm for parents, students and school divisions so we will begin to monitor that even closer,” Abel said. “We are also always focused on performing well on the standards of learning tests.”

All of the projects are in the division’s capital improvement budget for 2019-2021, according to Abel.

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

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