MEMORANDUM
To: Joint Consolidation Committee
From: Subcommittee on Facilities
RE: Status & Recommendations
______________________________________________________________________

I. Background

The Facilities Subcommittee has met approximately 8 times and recently toured Alleghany High School and Covington High School. As part of our review and discussions, we included the input of members of the Joint Consolidation Committee and the administration of the school districts from Alleghany County and the City of Covington.

We approached our analysis without a predisposition for one plan over another. Our meetings have results in the discussion of different options to best leverage our existing facilities and we have made several decisions.

II. Criteria & Findings

Elementary Schools:

It is the unanimous recommendation of the Facilities Subcommittee that we do not want to close any elementary schools. We have talked about the possibility of reconfiguring some of the grade levels of different buildings although we have not decided on a concrete alignment of grades; nevertheless, this would not result in the closing or consolidation of any of the Elementary Schools.

One Middle and One High School:

The Facilities Subcommittee is in agreement that it would be in the best interest of our students to have one high school and one middle school.

As part of this analysis, it was the understood that Middle School is the age when students begin being able to make decisions on their class choices. The Subcommittee recommends that having students in the same grade level allows for more class options for all students.

The best options available are to use Covington High School and Alleghany High School as the middle and high schools. These are some of the considerations and criteria:

Location

Covington High School :

The most centrally located building in the community. It is in the center of Alleghany County and the center of Covington.

It is in close proximity to the business district of Covington and could be beneficial to students taking part in internships and after school jobs.

Adjacent to the athletic facilities of Casey Field1

Alleghany High School

Located off of the interstate access roads from the East and the West and is a fifteen-minute bus ride from Covington High School.

Close proximity to JRTC. A lot of committee members (including Mr. Spangler JRTC director) feel that students would be more inclined to take advantage of courses at JRTC if it were just a walk up the hill instead of a bus ride away.

Closer proximity to DSLCC and the governor’s school.

Facilities Improvements

While our committee awaits the report from the facilities study group, we made several observations in our review and evaluation of the existing facilities. Within the past ten years both AHS and CHS have had major improvements. Both schools are air conditioned and both appear to be in fairly good shape. Both buildings have undergone asbestos abatement.

Covington High School:

CHS is a historical building and certainly has a sense of charm that is not duplicated in today’s structures.
- Marble and hardwood floors

The athletic facilities that adjoin CHS are superior.

It would be the recommendation of the committee to play all varsity baseball and football events at CHS regardless of which school is used for which grades.

Alleghany High School

25 years newer

Potentially larger onsite accommodations
- More modern CVT tiles
- Larger cafeteria/food service ability

Alleghany has had significant upgrades to the IT infrastructure as a result of the 1 to 1 initiative.

Miscellaneous

Leveraging JRTC

1 The Subcommittee is in agreement that, regardless of school choice, CHS’s athletic facilities should be the location for varsity football and baseball contests.
- JRTC is a three-year program set up for students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. If all of the area’s students in 10,11,12 were at AHS there is the
potential for more students from both Alleghany and Covington to take advantage of the opportunities of JRTC.
- Currently, approximately 55% of eligible AHS students take classes at JRTC and approximately 25% of CHS students take classes at JRTC.

Since AHS and CHS demographics are very similar, it is likely that the percentage of CHS students taking advantage of JRTC is limited by to two
factors:
- Students not wanting to travel from their home school (CHS)
- Students not having enough flexibility in their schedule

Public Opinion

Unsurprisingly, public opinion is a continued driving force in making an ultimate determination. The Subcommittee recognizes that many in the general public view the prospect of consolidation through the lens of which high school might ultimately be chosen. For some, Covington High School is known as the “identity” of the community while others consider our strong working-class nature the “identity” of the community. Neither opinion is wrong and any decision will require additional community outreach where we focus on the best educational opportunities for the students as a community. With either choice, there will be difficulty in accepting a new normal.

III. Recommendations

Ultimately, a majority (but not consensus) of the Subcommittee determined that the prevailing criteria of consolidated school choice is based upon the continued success and utilization of the career and technical education facilities at JRTC. Without the State subsidizing a move of JRTC, there are no options for which to consolidate the high schools and fully leverage participation within JRTC without housing the consolidated high school at Alleghany.