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School board votes to build new Manchester Middle School

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Chesterfield County School Board voted Monday night to nix plans to renovate Manchester Middle School and to construct a replacement school instead.

This decision came after construction bids for the renovation were higher than originally projected. The school board said the revised budget for the renovation was $41.6 million.

The construction management firm overseeing the school construction project estimated that a replacement middle school would cost between $39.3 million and $40.7 million.

“When we looked closely at the cost associated with renovation, we knew changing the plan would result in similar costs and also give us a brand new middle school that will better serve the 21st-century needs of our students,” said School Board Chair Dianne Smith.

Manchester Middle School

Manchester Middle School

The Manchester Middle project comes after a 2013 Bond Referendum that issued bonds in the amount of $304 million for school construction projects to improve school buildings in the county.

“One important component with the construction of this replacement school is that we are able to build it on the existing site, allowing for minimal disruption to our students during the construction process,” said Midlothian District School Board member Dr. Javaid Siddiqi.

Manchester Middle currently has a current student capacity is 1,541 students. Prior to the start of the renovation project, there were 18 mobile classrooms housed at the school.

The replacement middle school design would accommodate 1,100 students in 130,000 square feet of space. School officials said the design fits the middle school size outlined in the Chesterfield County Comprehensive Plan.

Manchester Middle originally opened in 1964 as a high school. The last major renovations occurred in 1981 and 1984.

There is no word on when construction will begin for the new school.