Old Bedford Middle School project raises concerns

BEDFORD, Va. – A beloved Bedford landmark is now being called a neighborhood nuisance, nearly four years after a devastating fire.

A Richmond-based company is working to bring new life to the old middle school, but many are frustrated by the progress.

Tuesday night the developer faced tough questions from the Town Council, who are requesting a timeline and are pushing for more transparency.

There are also concerns about the security of the large vacant property, especially after it was intentionally set on fire back in 2020.

“There’s nobody there at times, for long periods of time,” said Councilmember Bruce Johannessen. “You can’t blame neighbors for being concerned when there has been vandalism, there has been problems with that and surrounding homes.”

Plans for the project include 60 apartments and 30 hotel rooms. But construction has faced supply chain delays, with the biggest one being the electrical system.

“The job is moving along more slowly than we hoped it’s that simple, there’s no funding issues, no manpower issues, there’s no subcontractor issues there are no other issues,” said Dave McCormack, president of Waukeshaw Development.

The mayor says the performance agreement deadline is March 2024, and he wants more definitive progress before granting an extension.

About the Author:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.