The Halifax County School Board worked to refine the concept for the Halifax County High School when they met on Wednesday.
Concept designs have been whittled down from three options to one, and now Grimm + Parker plan to create gaps using board feedback for the June 27 school board meeting.
Whether or not to include sports facilities was also raised in discussions by school board vice-chairman Roy Keith Lloyd.
For now, Grimm + Parker is focusing on the school and the site around it.
However, “In the meantime, we can and will identify where (sports) facilities can be placed,” said Jim Boyd with Grimm + Parker.
In previous discussions, the school board has indicated that they would like a gymnasium capable of hosting regional games. The Halifax County High School varsity basketball team has historically traveled to both regions and states, and the current gymnasium can accommodate both regions and states. They also decided on Thursday that they would like the gym to be on the first floor with the public entrance.
Currently, Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium does not meet the standards to host state playoff games. The high school football and soccer teams currently use the field for practices and games. However, it “doesn’t measure up to a standard-size soccer field because of its width,” said Halifax County High School principal Michael Lewis.
“Our grounds need improvement, especially our football stadium,” Lewis added.
He also said lighting and seating need to be adjusted on softball and baseball diamonds. The secondary school principal also said that the base field drainage needs to be addressed.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Lloyd made similar comments about athletic fields.
He also said, “If we don’t do it now, it will never be done.
A groundbreaking took place on the current high school on April 13, 1979, and in the 1970s there were discussions to include the renovation of the sports fields, but this was never addressed due to lack of funding.
In 2018, former superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg pitched the idea of renovating Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium at a cost of $8.9 million.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2019, all talk of a new high school was put on hold.
Now the school system has a budget of $109 million, including $91 million for the construction of the building. The school system might also have public funds to help.
On Wednesday, the House of Delegates and the state Senate approved a two-year spending plan that includes $500,000,000 in one-time grants for “one-time costs including school construction, additions, infrastructure , site acquisition, renovations, technology and other expenses related to upgrading classroom equipment, school safety equipment or school safety renovations, and debt service payments on school projects completed during the past last ten years.
The goal is to have the new high school completed by the 2025-26 school year, and at that time the current high school will still be standing, Boyd said.
The demolition of the current high school is not in the current contract with Grimm + Parker.
After the current high school is demolished, athletic facilities and road conditions may be adjusted, Boyd said.
Grimm + Parker are also currently investigating how to maintain traffic during construction and how to maintain traffic long term.
Freddie Edmunds, administrator of ED-5, had to leave Wednesday’s meeting early.