On Jan. 27, 2014, the New Kent School Board approved the FY14-19 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which includes the historic high school renovation. The board is urging the county to consider making the building a third K-5 elementary school.

Nate Collins, director of secondary instruction, added that the increased population would change the "climate" of the school system.

"We're a small county, but we don't really have small schools," Collins said. "It's getting harder and harder for principals, assistant principals, and teachers to really know the families well."

"I think the K-5 scenario at the historic high school allows to maintain that level of service," he added.

The estimated cost of the K-5 renovation is around $7 million. It would cost an additional $1.35 million in operational costs, including 18 new employees, including a principal.

Although, for the county, the most tax efficient option is adding wings to the two existing elementary schools, Richardson said continuity of programming should take precedence.

"We feel like our elementary schools are doing what we need and want them to do and [the k-5 proposal] is the least disruptive option to our existing programming," he said.

"We have to trust that the Board of Supervisors will also go with the best programming option."

Not every School Board member was convinced that the Supervisors will be receptive to the K-5 project proposal.

"I do not have faith that the historic high school can be built properly," said Brett C. Marshall, the one dissenting vote. "If I had faith that it would be built properly under School Board supervision, then I'd support [it.]"

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.