Douglas School

People gather at the Douglas School in Winchester's North End last year for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a renovation and expansion project at the school. When completed it will be the new home of Winchester Public Schools' administrative offices.

WINCHESTER — At a special meeting on Monday, the Winchester School Board unanimously approved $9,736,868 in funding for the historic Douglas School renovation in addition to $2.5 million previously approved.

The cost of the project, which involves converting the North Kent Street building into school administration offices, is expected to total $14,864,542, if federal COVID-19 relief funds are approved for the roof and HVAC system. The total guaranteed maximum, without the installation of a maintenance building, is $12,106,182.

Douglas School educated Black students from Winchester and Frederick and Shenandoah counties from 1927 to 1966. The building is on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to converting the vacant building into school offices, there will be a museum dedicated to Douglas School's history at the entrance.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in November, with the 1950s and 1960s section of the building demolished in March. Construction is set to be completed by August 2022.

Winchester-based Howard Shockey & Sons is the project's general contractor.

The maintenance building is the remaining piece of the project that needs to secure funding and set pricing. Ed Smith, the school division's director of operations, estimates it will cost an additional $824,900.

"As you are aware, material price escalation has been an issue in the construction industry over the last several months," Jonathan Tingle, Howard Shockey & Sons' director of preconstruction, told the board. "However, it is important to continue moving ahead and lock in pricing for the remaining building package before prices continue to rise."

Attending Monday night’s Winchester School Board special meeting at the division's Central Administrative Office in-person included Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum, School Board Chairwoman Marie Imoh, School Board Vice Chairwoman Karen Anderson Holman and board members Bryan Pearce-Gonzales, Erica Truban, Carmen Crawford and Elyus Wallace. Board member Mike Birchenough was present via telephone. The meeting was also livestreamed via YouTube.

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com

(2) comments

WINCBEST

Only in our Local Government. Could have renovated the school and built a new building in better location with lot less money. Who cares, it just something for the taxpayers to keep going. Our Government has never made a good bargen yet. I am sure someone is getting rich off of this project.

StellaBob

I would like to know where WINCBEST gets his/her pricing/estimates from. I do not think the price is astronomical. Glad they are renovating this historic school.

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