Bedford County School board approves design for Forest Middle School

Some school board members don't support the decision

FOREST, Va. – The Bedford County School Board voted 5-2 in favor of the $29.2 million expansion of Forest Middle School. This will include expanding the building for an anticipated 1,200 students, making parent and bus drop-off easier and replacing the HVAC system and fixing the roof.

Susan Kirby sits on the school board, and she voted against this.

"The plans are wonderful. They really are wonderful. I would be glad for Forest to have it, just right now is not the right time," Kirby said.

Kirby said the school division has already spent a total of $39 million for the new Liberty Middle School and new gym at Liberty High School. She added asking for $29 million in a year is just too much.

"Right now, we have two schools that need the attention and I feel like the other school is being ignored or put on the back burner," Kirby said.

BCPS enrollment numbers online show Huddleston Elementary School is the second-most overcrowded school in the district. Kirby wants to see a county-wide redistricting effort.

Superintendent Dr. Doug Schuch said, "At this point we don't believe that there's any redistricting (that) could take place that would negate the need to do this project."

The final decision will be up to the board of supervisors on Oct. 9th.

But in the meantime, "We're going to continue to address our facilities at all of our schools, including those elementary schools. We're planning to do a study shortly to look at those issues and decide how we best handle them," Schuch said.

About the Author: