“For the time being,” announced Dr. Tony Brads, “The new Blue Ridge School is on hold.” Brads explained that at the regular school board meeting on August 9th, and it is due to economic conditions at this time. The project is on hold. After meeting with County Administrator Kathleen Guzi, the possibility of building the multimillion dollar school is just not economically feasible, said Brads to the school board.
In a happy event back in December of 2010 the property near Blue Ridge Library acquired in a deal with Roanoke County, brought out teachers from Colonial Elementary School wearing t-shirts stating “One Team-One Dream.” Colonial is the largest elementary school in the County with over 550 students. It was built in the late 1930s and has been upgraded to about the limit of expectation.
Botetourt County facing funding challenges from the state and also in its business and tax base, squeaked through a tough budget for 2012-13 even with a local tax increase on real estate and personal property. Concern had been expressed during the spring county budget meetings over upcoming construction at Exit 150 which may affect the lodging and meals tax base. And as Supervisor Terry Austin has previously stated, “No one is beating down the doors to bring in a new business to Botetourt County.” The officials are being prudent with the delay of the new school construction.
A committee of two supervisors, two school board members and two citizens had formed and met several times to work on the project. Brads said at the meeting that the focus is being shifted to some upgrades in the science department classrooms at Lord Botetourt High School to bring them up to the same standard as the classrooms at James River High School.