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Historic School Renovation Project in New Kent Placed On Hold

Historic School Renovation Project in New Kent Placed On Hold

New Kent, Virginia,— The echoes of history reverberate through the halls of New Kent’s 1930s Historic School, a building that once stood as a beacon of education and community.

But today, it faces uncertainty as proposals to transform it into a community center and library have been placed on hold. The Historic School, located at 11825 New Kent Highway, was slated for renovation this spring. The vision included community classrooms, a library, and a performing arts component.

However, reality hit hard when the proposal came in “way over budget,” as County Administrator Hathaway candidly put it. The community center design, priced at $13 million, raised eyebrows. With the county already having borrowed $7 million for the renovation, the financial strain became evident. The Board of Supervisors now faces a critical choice: Should they proceed with the community center concept or pivot to address the expansion needs of county government? “There was some discussion of instead of doing a community center, the real need is office space, so should we go down that path?”

Hathaway posed during a recent meeting. The urgency lies in finding a solution that balances historical preservation with practicality. Could the school’s gymnasium serve as a multifunctional space for the community? The Historic School carries a weighty legacy. It was once the New Kent School, a place where young minds blossomed.

Here, the clash between community needs and fiscal responsibility unfolds. “We need a community center in the eastern end,” Hathaway emphasized, “but we also need a voting precinct.” The fate of the Historic School hangs in the balance. Should it become a vibrant community hub or find new life as office space? As the sun sets over New Kent, the decision-makers grapple with preserving history while meeting the demands of a growing county.