Students at West Elementary and Bobby Ray Elementary will soon be seeing improvements as the Board of Education plans to move ahead with projects at those two schools as part of future building projects.
“Bobby Ray and West take priority because they have structures that are 50 years old,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox in discussing the building plans. “The structures are good but we need to update them.”
The plan to work on Bobby Ray and West first comes as part of the school system’s $10 million plan to update the county’s schools. The initiative comes on the heels of building projects including a large expansion of Dibrell School, new schools at Centertown and Morrison, a fieldhouse at Warren County High School, a major upgrade and addition at Irving College, and a revamp of the gym at Bobby Ray.
The buildings at Bobby Ray, all of which are in need of upgrades, are all over 40 years old. Building C, which is the closest building to Chancery Street, was built in 1962. Buildings A and B were built post-fire in 1976 and 1974, respectively.
The improvements that are needed at Bobby Ray will be far cheaper than constructing replacements for the present buildings, something that would cost around $14 million, or 10 times the amount it will cost to improve the existing school.
On the laundry list at Bobby Ray are things like doors, ceiling tiles, elevators, paving, relocation of a loading dock and wiring.
West has the lowest price tag of all the schools needing upgrades. The 540-student capacity school is needing around $1.3 million in improvements. West needs a new HVAC system in the gym, lighting and wiring upgrades, new awnings and parking lot improvement.
“They’ve waited. Now it’s their time,” Cox said.
The director of schools plans to approach the county’s Education Committee about the plans later this month in hopes county government can assist in funding the projects.