Dillwyn Primary's Future

Published 3:28 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — The Board of Supervisors-appointed library liaison committee wants to know about the future of the former Dillwyn Primary School, the now-vacant brick structure that sits atop a hill at the intersection of Routes 15 and 20 in Dillwyn, committee member H. Spencer Adams told school board members last week.

The school was used as a primary school until only a few years ago, when the county’s primary and elementary schools were merged into the Carter G. Woodson Education Complex on Route 20.

According to Frank Howe, a member of the library’s fundraising committee, Adams was following up on “…a laundry list of requests to investigate that stem from the library liaison committee…No one truly expected this to be a viable option, but he was asked to inquire about it since other folks had suggested it might be an option,” the retired former Longwood University professor noted in an email to The Herald.

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“I, and a number of other individuals, are very active in the process of trying to get a new library built here in Buckingham County,” noted Adams, who spoke at the June 11 Buckingham School Board meeting representing the committee.

After referencing The Herald’s article on the July public hearing on the proposed new public library’s site move, the former educator and principal noted, “(At) the last liaison committee meeting that I attended, one of the Board of Supervisors members stated that a number of people from that district that they represent were wondering why (the former) Dillwyn Primary could not be a site for the new library. And, having been the principal of that building for seven years…I ran over certain things…(like) how many classrooms were there…”.

Adams, who served several years ago as the division’s interim superintendent, cited “The committee would like to obtain certain information from the school board. So, the next day…I met with (Division Superintendent) Dr. (Cecil) Snead, and (Facilities Director) Mr. (Ivan) Davis, bringing the request to them, asking for…certain information to be looked over by the architect that was working with us on the project. And, to come up with some idea (as) to the feasibility, or the impossibility of such a move.”

Adams noted that he has “requested the Blue Ribbon Committee report, square footage, blueprints and drawings…asbestos report…” for the vacated structure.

“Well, in that discussion with them, and subsequent discussions, with Dr. Snead, it’s been pointed out to me, and I didn’t realize it at the time…that this building has not been turned over to the Board of Supervisors. It is still under the control of the School Board…” he explained, adding that the former Gold Hill Elementary School had been relinquished to the County’s control.

“You all still have control of that building. My understanding is there may be a future need for that building on the part of this board…That’s been conveyed to me. So, I guess the request is, if you want to turn this material over to the committee for study, or does the board, in the future, see a need for this building?…”

School Board Chairman and District Three representative Ed Wise noted that when he heard of the request from the liaison committee, “I requested that he come in and address everybody, so that we all heard the exact same request…We certainly thank you for coming and we’ll take it under advisement.”

Following a lengthy closed session of the school board, part of which was for “discussion or consideration of the acquisition of real property for a public purpose, or of the disposition of publicly held real property, where discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body,” no action was taken on Adams’ request.

During an April budget hearing at a Board of Supervisors’ meeting, library supporter Pat Howe noted, “We’ve talked about…renovating…Dillwyn Primary, but the renovations and removal of asbestos would cost too much. It would cost more than a new building…”.

Administrative Hires

Following their lengthy closed session, the board voted unanimously to transfer Buckingham Primary and Elementary Assistant Principal Patti Branch from her position at the Carter G. Woodson Education Complex to the high school, where she will serve as an assistant principal.

The board also unanimously voted to hire Dr. Jeff Garrett as the high school’s athletic director and assistant principal, and Bryan Jackson as assistant principal at Buckingham Elementary.