School Board names Greenway chair, discusses projects at William Byrd High School

Tim Greenway (left), Vinton’s representative on the Roanoke County School Board, was elected by his fellow board members to serve as School Board chairman for 2017. He is shown with Jason Moretz from the Windsor Hills District, who will serve as vice chairman.

The Roanoke County School Board elected Vinton’s representative, Tim Greenway, to serve as its chairman for 2017. Jason Moretz, who represents the Windsor Hills District, was elected vice chairman.

Greenway was first elected to the School Board in November 2015 to fill the unexpired portion of a term left vacant. He served as vice chairman during 2016. He is a graduate of William Byrd High School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Radford University. He owns and operates Greenway Construction Inc., with offices in downtown Vinton.

“I am very honored to serve as the chairman of the board for this great school system,” Greenway said. “I grew up as a student attending Vinton area schools and now I’m glad I can turn around and help the next generation of students learn from excellent teachers and attend outstanding schools in Roanoke County.”

Greenway was instrumental in expanding the laptop computer program in the county schools to include all seventh and eighth graders. He also made extensive renovations to the locker rooms at William Byrd High School an early priority in his tenure on the board. The renovations benefit not only the Byrd teams, but visiting teams, as well as encouraging tournament play and special athletic events.

Discussions continued for improvements to William Byrd at a Construction Committee meeting following the School Board reorganizational meeting on January 3.

One project will upgrade the William Byrd football field, stadium, track, and practice fields. The athletic facilities are shared by the high school and William Byrd Middle School.

As anyone who attended, or even saw photographs of two recent mud-fest football games at WBHS against Salem and Heritage High School, can attest to, the football field needs drastic upgrades, according to Greenway. He believes the best choice is to replace the existing grass field in the stadium with synthetic turf. Currently, the athletic fields are constantly in use with no chance to recover between events.

The Roanoke County Schools staff has developed a master plan, scope, and budget “to provide a new multi-sport synthetic field and a new eight-lane rubberized track within the existing stadium, and the redevelopment of the existing practice fields. The redevelopment would allow for two regulation football fields at a time and one regulation soccer field at a time.”

“We have done all we can do to address the surface,” said Greenway. “There are no other viable options. This is not a ‘want’– this is a ‘need’.”

The estimated cost of the “WBHS Stadium Fields and Grass Field Renovations” would be about $2.1 million, including turf base preparation, purchase of turf at $5 per square foot, asphalt track demolition, grading, paving, and line painting, rubber track coating, addition of concrete sidewalk, fencing, a new bituminous surface, and a retaining wall.

Greenway said that once the track is rubberized, the school will be able to host track meets.

The cost also includes improvements to the approximately 4.7 acres of practice fields to include earthwork (regrading), sod, irrigation, and lighting.

The potential schedule for the stadium project involves RFP advertising beginning in February, awarding the bid in March, field excavation in late May, installation of the synthetic turf and other upgrades over the summer, and completion by the end of July, in time for opening practices for school year 2017-2018. The practice field renovations would be on a different schedule because of their extensive use.

An “Athletic Facilities Study” of all Roanoke County Public Schools was presented by Dr. Ken Nicely, Director of Administration, during the construction meeting. His research shows that the athletic facilities at William Byrd include outdoor baseball and softball fields, football/soccer practice fields, the stadium field, and lacrosse fields. The practice fields are used by 10 teams: varsity and junior varsity football, varsity and junior varsity boys and girls soccer, girls lacrosse, middle school football, and middle school girls and boys soccer.

The stadium field is used by 12 different teams for football, soccer, and lacrosse. The baseball and softball fields are each used by four teams. Baseball teams also practice at the RCCC field below the former William Byrd High School on Gus Nicks Boulevard. Softball teams practice at Goode Park.

The Construction Committee meeting also included a “Facilities Study Presentation” by the OWPR firm from Blacksburg who conducted the study in all county schools in recent months. They created a priorities list for improvements which need to be made in all 30 buildings they surveyed. Many improvements on the highest priority list included roof repairs and replacements at various schools— mostly EPDM rubber roofs that seem to be more fragile and require more frequent and informed maintenance. There was discussion of hiring roofing specialists to monitor and maintain roofs throughout the county schools.

Work on the OWPR high priority list in Vinton-area schools includes the roof at Bonsack Elementary, replacement of a roof-top HVAC unit at Herman L. Horn, installing an ADA-certified handrail at Mount Pleasant Elementary, removing some wood framed walls and paneling at W.E. Cundiff, relocating the amateur radio class at William Byrd Middle School now located in the boiler room, and adding a new access road (possibly just an emergency access road) at William Byrd High School, which now has only one exit for both the middle and high school.

Another topic of discussion at the construction meeting involved an update on an amended proposal to finalize renovations at WBHS, mainly to classrooms. This renovation project would “catch up” improvements to the school begun several years ago, and completed in fits and starts. Parts of the high school have not been renovated in 30 years.

Greenway hopes that the proposed school renovations would begin in late 2020 or early 2021 once renovations are completed at Cave Spring High School. The cost is estimated to be at least $17 million.

Those renovations, in the preliminary plans, would involve the west wing of the building— raising ceilings, replacing HVAC duct and units, renovating and enlarging classrooms to meet state standards (especially antiquated science, biology, chemistry, and physics labs), and adding new mechanical and electrical systems on the second-floor west wing.

Improvements would also include swapping the guidance and media center locations so that guidance would be near the main office complex, adding corridor security gates, renovating the former main entrance to the school, improving the sound and lighting system in the auditorium, renovating large restrooms to be more ADA compliant, adding restrooms adjacent to the cafeteria, renovating the Tech Ed classroom, and adding a sprinkler system throughout the school.

The School Board will be holding a joint session with the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors later in January to discuss capital improvement projects.

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