Changes expected in Bristol, Va. schools

Bristol school changes

BRISTOL, Va. - Aging, obsolete, and not handicapped-accessible: these all are problems that Bristol, Va. Elementary schools are facing.

Bristol, Va. school leaders met Monday night to discuss the future of some of the school buildings.

Highland View Elementary School was built in 1938 and Stonewall Jackson Elementary in 1948. Both have maintenance issues, which has led to talks of a new school.

Now renovating the old or building new is the question in Bristol.

Of the four elementary schools in the area the newest one is almost forty years old, and with aging buildings comes many maintenance issues. School Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg says, "It is time to begin the discussion about the future of our elementary schools and this is just the beginning."

According to a 2011 facility study Highland View Elementary is functionally obsolete, Stonewall Jackson Elementary is significantly aging, and Washington-Lee Elementary is at already capacity. It is also not handicapped-accessible.

The Bristol, Va. School Board has started discussing possible solutions, but it isn't just about closing a school. There are capacity issues which could lead to a domino effect among all its elementary schools.

Whatever plan the school board chooses whether it is redistricting, closing a school, building a new school, or grade level reconfiguration, the impact will be felt in many ways. President of Bristol, Va. Public School Education Foundation Board Catherine Brillhart says, "I believe the cost of doing nothing will be more significant as far as costs down the road."

There are six different variations of combining, splitting and closing schools on the table. The next step is weighing out all options and hearing from the public to try and find the best possible scenario.

School leaders are hopeful to have a plan by the end of the school year.

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