Chesterfield County School Board votes to build replacement Manchester Middle School

The Chesterfield County School Board voted last night to construct a replacement Manchester Middle School. The original plan had been to renovate the existing middle school.

With construction bids higher than originally projected, the revised budget for the renovation of Manchester Middle was $41.6 million. The construction management firm overseeing the school division’s bond referendum-related capital projects estimated that a replacement middle school would cost between $39.3 million and $40.7 million.

“When we looked closely at the cost associated with renovation, we knew changing the plan would result in similar costs and also give us a brand new middle school that will better serve the 21st-century needs of our students,” said School Board Chair Dianne Smith.

Manchester Middle originally opened in 1964 as a high school. The last major renovations occurred in 1981 and 1984. The current student capacity is 1,541 students with a functional capacity of 1,317 students. Prior to the start of the renovation project, there were 18 mobile classrooms housed at the school with an anticipated enrollment of 1,409 students for the 2016-17 school year.

The replacement middle school design would accommodate 1,100 students in 130,000 square feet of space and fit the middle school size outlined in the Chesterfield County Comprehensive Plan. The replacement school would be similar in size to Providence Middle.

“One important component with the construction of this replacement school is that we are able to build it on the existing site, allowing for minimal disruption to our students during the construction process,” said Midlothian District School Board member Dr. Javaid Siddiqi.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the 2013 Bond Referendum to issue bonds in the amount of $304 million for school construction projects.

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