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Fredericksburg school division hoping for March groundbreaking for new middle school

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Fredericksburg City Public Schools is working toward a March groundbreaking for the new middle school at 2201 Idlewild Blvd.

Deputy superintendent Matt Eberhardt provided an update on the $77 million middle school project to the School Board during its first regular meeting of the year Monday.

City Council approved the contract with design-build firm First Choice, LLC late last year. The firm has completed 65% of the design and the total cost estimate is tracking “100% on budget,” Eberhardt said.

First Choice also submitted a site plan to the city Dec. 22. Eberhardt said city and school division staff are aiming for a Feb. 27 approval of the plan so groundbreaking can begin in March. The anticipated opening is August 2025.

“We are doing everything to keep our eyes on the prize and the prize is Feb. 27,” Eberhardt said. “We need to keep on schedule.”

Eberhardt also gave the board a school safety update, announcing that Fredericksburg City Police and the school division’s maintenance team have worked to install breach kit lockers at the entrance to each school.

“One of the issues [in Uvalde] was a lack of access to breaching tools to get into spaces and break doors down,” Eberhardt said. “Those can be heavy and it’s not something readily carried by law enforcement.”

The kits are stored in secured metal lockers that have been bolted to the ground outside the entrances of all division schools.

“We believe we are probably the first in the area to do this, and this is all the police department,” Eberhardt said. “We have an excellent relationship with them, and they worked to get these materials and get them to the schools.”

Following last week’s shooting by a 6-year-old student at a Newport News elementary school, Eberhardt said the division will send home a letter reminding families to keep guns and ammunition, as well as medications, locked up and out of reach of children.

He said each city school has a supply of locks and secured medication boxes to distribute to families that need these items.

In addition, Eberhardt said the school division will host a daylong crisis management training event Jan. 20 for about 100 employees and first responders.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board elected Ward 3 representative Jennifer Boyd to serve as chair and Ward 4 representative Malvina Kay to serve as vice chair this year. 

Adele Uphaus: 540/735-1973


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