Speakers Ask Accomack Board to Preserve Accomac School

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By Carol Vaughn —

Three speakers at the April 20 Accomack County Board of Supervisors meeting asked officials to consider renovating the former Accomac Primary School rather than tearing it down and constructing a new school administration office building on the property.

Linda Henderson Gordon, of Greenbackville, asked the board to do what they can to preserve the former school, saying, “She has aged very well.”

She said the board of supervisors “holds the purse strings for the people’s money and controls the release of that money to projects on the people’s behalf.”

Gordon urged supervisors to “respond to the numerous compelling arguments at school board meetings and in letters in the Post to save and preserve the former Accomac High School.”

The school opened in 1932 as Accomac High School and was used as a school for seven decades. The building was occupied last about 20 years ago and is now used as storage.
Her husband, Haydon Gordon, called saving the building “a doable thing.”

Sarah Nock, of Accomac, said her father, Floyd Nock, an architectural historian, was born the year the building was completed and graduated from the school.

“His philosophy and motto was that buildings don’t become beautiful by virtue of getting old; they get to be old because they are beautiful in the first place — and that school is,” Nock said, noting new construction there is projected to last only one third to one quarter the time the old school already has stood.

“That does not seem prudent. If there is a way to do any kind of reuse and adaptation with any amount of reasonableness, that would be the most proper way. It fits with the county seat and the feel of the town,” she said.

Supervisor Robert Crockett later in the meeting said he attended the school board meeting the previous evening and heard engineers’ presentation about constructing a new school board office building versus renovating the former school.

“However, there was nothing there as far as facts to make a good decision,” he said, adding, “We need to have more study of the possibilities there to either renovate or to build new, because the information that’s on the table so far is nothing that you can make a sound decision on.”

Crockett said even though the school board will make the decision, “It will come to us as far as funding, so we are both in this — the school board and the board of supervisors — and we need to show the public that we are working the issue.”

He said he hopes “in the end it comes that we can renovate the old school, but we need more information before we can get to that point.”

He said the cost of conducting structural and hazardous materials testing on the building is around $35,000 to $50,000.

“I think it’s worth that amount of money to have that done, so maybe this board and the school board could split the cost,” he said, asking for consensus to have board and school board staff discuss additional study of the building.

Assessment Appeals
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors approved an emergency ordinance extending the deadline for property owners to appeal their 2022 real estate assessments.

Appeals are to be filed in writing with the county assessor within 30 days of the date of the notice of assessment. The assessor is to make a determination within 30 days of receiving the appeal.

Any property owner unsatisfied with the action taken by the assessor may appeal to the Accomack County Board of Equalization, consisting of five members appointed by the Circuit Court judge, within 30 days of the date of the assessor’s written determination.
That board is to make its determination no later than 30 days after receiving the appeal.
Information about the process can be found at https://www.co.accomack.va.us/departments/real-estate-assessment-appeals-process

Northern Landfill Expansion
A $5 million project to expand Accomack County’s northern landfill is nearing completion, according to Deputy County Administrator Stewart Hall.

The expansion is part of a 35-year master plan for the landfill.

No areas of concern were found during an April 11 inspection by the Department of Environmental Quality. A certificate to operate is expected in May.

With at least four months of capacity remaining in the current cell, the county does not expect to have to haul trash to an outside landfill before the new cell is operational.
The next project at the landfill will be to partly close the currently used cell, at a cost of $1.3 million.

VDOT Six-Year Plan Approved
The board of supervisors approved VDOT’s six-year plan for secondary roads in Accomack County.

Reconstruction of Cemetery Road/Lee Street in Belle Haven is the top project and is expected to be completed in November 2023 at a cost of nearly $4 million.

The board’s priority “shelf” projects remain Redwood Road and Locustville Road for inclusion in a future plan should state funding become available, according to the resolution adopted.

The board also continued to designate Matchotank Road as its top priority for unpaved road improvement and Lee Street as the top paved road improvement project. VDOT has acquired full funding for those projects.

Matchotank Road improvements are expected to be completed in 2025 at a cost of $135,000.

Bridge maintenance projects on Route 658 over Muddy Creek and Route 701 over Holden Creek are expected to be completed this year, at a cost of $202,405. A detour will be in place during construction, according to Chris Isdell, VDOT Accomac Residency Administrator.

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