County to begin school, other repairs

Needed repairs at Rappahannock County’s elementary and high school will get underway with a decision by the county board of supervisors on Monday to move forward on them.

The repairs at the two schools, in addition to a shorter and less expensive list of repairs needed at several county office buildings, are expected to total $1.6 million.

The county expects to pay for the work over 10 years under a lease-purchase arrangement.

County Administrator John McCarthy said the same financing arrangement was used to have stadium lights installed at the high school.

“Instead of buying outright it is a lease-purchase. We amortize the cost and at the end of the term we own it” as in the case of a consumer rent-to-own purchase, he explained.

The current school budget includes $170,000 in a debt service account. Funds will be kept in that account to make the annual payments for the repair work, McCarthy said.

Some of the less-costly and labor-intensive work may be done with existing maintenance money. Competitive bids will be sought on major repairs.

The list of needed work, as drawn up by the consulting engineering firm of Simmons, Rockecharlie & Prince (SRP), of Richmond, includes work to the heat pump, new lights and fixtures, replacement of the boiler and new heating/cooling control valves at the elementary school.

Work at the high school includes installing high-efficiency light fixtures, replacing wall thermostats, installing electronic controls on heating and ventilation units and replacing temperature control valves in each classroom. New emergency lighting will be added. Other work at the high school has already been done, including new heat pump controls, a hot water control and replacement of rooftop exhaust fans.

McCarthy said the windows at the oldest part of the high school will be replaced and asbestos abatement will be done at the same time as the lighting work since the asbestos is in the ceiling. He said it is hoped that much of the work at the schools can be done over the summer.

A shorter list of repairs at county buildings include furnace work at the jail; a new thermostat and controls for hot-water heaters at the courthouse; and new fluorescent fixtures, exit signs and dehumidifier for the clerk of the circuit court’s office. Work on all of those items have been started but not completed since the last report by the consulting engineers in 2010.

The engineers will oversee the work to be done.

Supervisors Bryant Lee, Roger Welch and Ron Frazier all commented that they felt it best to tackle the problems now, in total rather than piecemeal.

“It’s pay me now or pay me later,” Welch said.

“If we don’t do it now I don’t know that it’s going to be any cheaper later,” Frazier said.

The board unanimously approved going ahead with the work. The school board, at its meeting Tuesday night, also endorsed the work.

In other business, McCarthy said that Culpeper County has requested establishing a reciprocity arrangement whereby Culpeper residents who are closer to Rappahannock’s waste transfer facilities than theirs can bring their trash to Rappahannock’s. Rappahannock residents could take their trash to Culpeper’s if that’s more convenient.

McCarthy told the board that he believes there are more Culpeper residents who would benefit from the arrangement. These would be people who don’t contract with a trash hauler and who most likely live in northwestern Culpeper County, nearer to the Amissville transfer facility than any in their own county. “If we get more than 25 households I’d be surprised,” McCarthy said.

The arrangement with Culpeper would be limited to household trash and recyclables.

Supervisor Chris Parrish said he thought it might be hard to monitor.

There was also discussion about what to charge and how it would be collected. McCarthy, in a letter to the board outlining the request, suggested the fee could be in the neighborhood of $1.50 per 33-gallon bag, which would cover handling, transport and tip fee costs.

No decision was made by the board at this time.

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James Ivancic is a reporter for the Fauquier Times in Warrenton, Va. Contact him at