School, city leaders talk timeline, funding for Salem High renovation

Construction bid, groundbreaking right around the corner

SALEM, Va. – Salem City and school leaders met Tuesday night to talk about the funding and timeline for Salem High School's massive $36 million renovation.

"We're at a pretty exciting point," said Dr. Alan Seibert, the school division's superintendent.

Seibert said the district plans to send out bids for contractors at the end of December and pick one by the end of January.

"We expect there will be a number of contractors interested in a job of this size, and we want them to have ample time to work with their subcontractors to really dig deep and ask questions," Seibert said.

After picking one, school leaders will work with the new contractor to brainstorm ways to improve design plans and save money before hopefully breaking ground in May.

"Our plan is to keep children on-site, but we think if we break ground this spring, then by the following fall of 2021 we should have our major additions done and be able to move students to begin working on the next parts of the project," Seibert said.

The school district has been working closely with police and city council on the project. Council approved a tax hike over the summer to fund a majority of the renovation, a move that was met with both reservations and praise from residents.

Design plans are nearly complete and include security upgrades, roof repairs and classroom updates.

"Those very traditional 1970s-era classrooms have put some physical constraints on the things that we want to do, teaching- and learning-wise," Seibert said. "So we're looking forward to having some more flexible spaces, different configurations of spaces, where we can really begin to work and continue our efforts to personalize learning for every student."

There was not any vote at Tuesday's work session on the renovations. It was just a way for everyone involved to make sure they are on the same page.

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