ROANOKE COUNTY, Va (WFXR) — On Friday, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors announced a record $130 million will be used for three major projects in the public school district.
The board says $80 million will be used to build a brand Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center and the remaining $50 million will be used to renovate two elementary schools– W.E. Cundiff and Glen Cove Elementary.
According to board members, they are confident these projects can be completed without raising taxes.
“We’re going to do this without any impact on taxes, and we’re going to address the needs of all three schools,” said Hollins District representative, Phil North.
The new CTE center will give students the chance to learn a trade skill and earn a strong salary early in their careers. Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Martha Hooker, says students can often get into a full-time career in less time and at a lower cost than it would typically take to obtain a college degree.
“Financially, for some of these students, it’s a no-brainer, they come out far ahead. Instead of being pushed to college and maybe taking on this large debt, and still not being in the field that they love,” said Hooker.
However, the impact will spread beyond just Roanoke County, North says students outside the district will benefit as well.
“Bring students that don’t have those programs in Botetourt or Salem, to the CTE school if capacity exists,” said North.
He says it’s important for students to know that they have these opportunities close to home.
Hooker adds that the two elementary schools will be updated to a more modern layout for students to learn. The schools currently use an “open-concept layout” which means several classes will take place at the same time, in one large classroom. She says this layout has not proven to as beneficial to students.
“It is not the best scenario for most students’ learning styles, and we want to go back and retrofit that and make sure it’s good,” said Hooker.
According to North, these projects will not only strengthen the local workforce and build the economy, but they will also draw new people to the area.
“Folks come here to this area looking to establish their businesses or industries, they want a good school system,” said North.
The Board of Supervisors says the funding will be available starting in early 2024, there is currently no timeline for when construction is set to begin.