Amherst County school leaders hold meetings to present proposed projects, gather community input

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The auditorium at Amherst County High School has stood since the 1950s.

With a need for a larger space, school leaders are calling for community input on what the future should hold.

“This initial auditorium was built in 1954. It was the initial auditorium for the high school when the high school was first built and it was good in 1954. It’s not meeting the needs of what we have now,” said Dr. William Wells, assistant superintendent.

They’re looking at constructing a new auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,400 alongside a new commons space.

The use of a new auditorium goes beyond just academics.

Wells says the community uses the auditorium and needs something that can accommodate more people.

“This really doesn’t fit the needs of the community any more just because we can’t seat the number of people we need to seat and we don’t have the space to meet those needs as well, so, putting something new and modern will benefit not only the school system but our community,” said Wells.

However, one of the biggest challenges right now is the economy.

With supply chains suffering, the cost to build a new auditorium and commons space has gone up.

“We’re hoping that between our funding and some funding through the county board of supervisors that we’ll be able to make this happen,” said Wells. He says the price tag comes in somewhere around $11 to $12 million dollars, up from an $8.5 million estimate from a year and a half ago.

A meeting will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium to give the public insight into this project and others.

Other proposed projects include renovating the current auditorium into classroom space, upgrading the football stadium and adding a new softball and baseball fieldhouse. Altogether, everything could cost as much as $20 million, according to Wells.

Two additional town halls will be held next week to get more input.

Wells says they want to get a plan to the board of supervisors in winter. He says they hope to get work underway next summer.

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