Supervisors fund portion of HVAC fixes at Walton ES

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: February 11, 2020 | 8:27 p.m.

PRINCE GEORGE – Prince George supervisors voted Tuesday to fund the county school division’s nearly $171,000 request to help pay for needed HVAC remediation at Walton Elementary School.

In a 3-0 vote, with both supervisors Alan Carmichael and Marlene Waymack absent from the regular business meeting, $170,767 was earmarked for the project that was proposed in the closing weeks of 2019.

Of that total, roughly $160,000 was funded through the use of unallocated debt proceeds from the county’s Spring 2019 borrowing, which were the result of closing costs coming in lower than estimated. An additional $9,985 from investment interest would help to fund the entire $170,767 request from Prince George County Public Schools.

That funding will help cover the first phase of HVAC remediation efforts at Walton Elementary School, totaling over $400,000, with the school division funding the majority of the costs though the use of unspent funds from the previous financial year and shifting funding from other capital projects to the needs at Walton Elementary.

The board’s action comes nearly two months after supervisors voted 3-2 against reallocating funding from a planned concessions stand and restrooms project at Scott Park to the Walton ES project. At that time, supervisors who voted down the proposal said the money could be found elsewhere without affecting the Scott Park project.

Since then, supervisors have voted to move forward with the purchase of required materials for that concession stand and restrooms facility.

In regards to Walton Elementary’s current home, Prince George Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said the work done through both phases is “expected to extend the life of [Walton Elementary’s] HVAC system by up to four years.”

That timing is key as the school division seeks to begin work promptly on a new school that will likely serve as Walton’s replacement. Last week, the school board voted to select Middle Road as the site for the new school, in line with a recommendation from supervisors in September of 2018.

At that time, the school board voted narrowly to reject the board of supervisors’ recommendation one month later in October of 2018 before pitching the current home of Walton Elementary as their preferred site for a new school.

Prior to their vote Tuesday on funding the HVAC work at Walton Elementary, supervisors, at the request of Dr. Pennycuff and the school board, reaffirmed their support of the Middle Road site for the development of a new school.

On Wednesday, The Prince George Journal will have a full report on the school board’s decision to select Middle Road as their preferred site for a new elementary school and what it means for efforts to pursue a land transaction with Fort Lee by county officials as a school site. That story will be available on newsstands and online.

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