By Lisa Kopochinski
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va.—Ground has been broken on a $25-million replacement building for Matoaca Elementary School in Williamsburg, Va.
With a completion date slated for fall 2020, the new 750-student building will replace the original school that was built more than 80 years ago. RRMM Architects, which has several offices in Virginia, is the architect on the project. Southwood Builders of Ashland, Va., is the general contractor.
Chesterfield School Board Chairman Rob Thompson said the old school has served its community well.
“The school board and I understand how many memories and success stories grew out of that current Matoaca Elementary. We realized it was no longer able to serve students in the manner in which we needed to today.”
Matoaca Elementary School Principal Mary Thrift concurred and said generation after generation of families have attended the current elementary school.
“After four previous renovations and additions to our 1937 constructed building, the time had come to move to a new facility more conducive to 21st-century public education.”
In 2013, voters agreed to pay for the new building as part of a bond referendum aimed at replacing or renovating older schools in the county.
The new Matoaca Elementary School is being built on the site of Matoaca Middle School’s western campus. That middle school is being torn down to make way for the new elementary school. The sixth- and seventh-graders at the western campus are moving to the middle school’s eastern campus where the first phase of a new middle school is being built.
The original $304 million package leaned toward renovating aging facilities rather than replacing them. However, the plan that voters approved was expanded to $402 million to build eight schools, rather than the three that were initially envisioned.
Chesterfield County Director of Budget and Management Meghan Coates said the School Board and the County Board of Supervisors modified the original building plan when they adopted the current year’s budget after learning it would be more cost effective to replace, rather than renovate more school buildings.
In addition to Matoaca, the Beulah, Enon, Crestwood, Etrrick, Harrowgate and Reams elementary schools are being replaced, as is Manchester Middle School. Construction of a new Old Hundred Elementary School is also underway.
The Beulah and Enon replacements have already opened and renovations to Monacan High School and Providence Middle School have been completed.