WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously tonight to amend the county’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget to appropriate $45.5 million to the school division to build a replacement Robert E. Aylor Middle School.
Replacing Aylor is the top priority in the school division’s 2019-2023 capital improvements plan.
The board’s vote will allow the school division to apply for bonds for the project later this month. However, the amount of money being appropriated is less than the school division originally sought.
The School Board initially requested $52 million to build a 160,000-square-foot facility to replace the nearly 50-year-old, 115,000-square-foot Aylor Middle School on Aylor Road near Stephens City. The existing school, which has a student enrollment of about 630, has problems with elevated carbon dioxide levels.
In May, the supervisors approved a resolution stating they would consider funding up to $45.5 million to build the new school, as long as the building doesn’t exceed 140,000 square feet and can accommodate 900 students, with room for expansion.
School Board members previously expressed concerns that 140,000 square feet isn’t large enough to meet the needs of a growing community. Some of the supervisors agreed with them.
“Just based on my personal construction background, I know that we need a bigger school,” Opequon District Supervisor Bob Wells said tonight. “Watching what’s going on in my district, by the time Aylor’s complete, it will be full.”
Gainesboro District Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy said the county is getting the best school possible for what it can afford. Red Bud District Supervisor Blaine Dunn said the county is already $126 million in debt and noted that projects such as Aylor will only further add to the debt.
See Friday’s edition of The Winchester Star for more information