New Kent's plans to fix up an old school have been put on hold.

NEW KENT — Plans to turn New Kent’s Historic School from the 1930s into a community center and library have been put on hold because of worries about how much the project will cost.

Sadly, the New Kent historic school repair project has been put on hold.

New Kent County’s website said that work on fixing up the school at 11825 New Kent Highway would start this spring.

But the idea of a community center has been put on hold. Instead, the Board of Supervisors is thinking about how to use the room to help the county government grow in Virginia’s fastest-growing county.

The board is also looking closely at a different plan to build a community center in Wahrani, which is in the eastern part of the county. This is because they want to lower a planned increase in real estate taxes in the coming fiscal year 2025.

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Andrew Smolak of Moseley Architects showed plans for the historic school in September. The plans included community classrooms, a community library, and a performance arts component.

The 19th of March, Rodney Hathaway, the county administrator, told the board that the plan was “way over budget.”

He said, “There was some talk that maybe we don’t need a community center after all; what we really need is office space.” “That project has been put on hold while we figure out what the building should be used for.”

He said that the county had already borrowed $7 million to pay for the work. The plan for the community center costs $13 million.

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“That will be the fastest thing to do instead of building a new $20–$30 million administration building because space is tight,” board chair Thomas Evelyn said. He said that the school gym could be used by the public.

The community center plan was supposed to tell the story of the Historic School, which used to be the New Kent School.

After Brown v. Board of Education, Green v. County School Board of New Kent in 1968 is seen as the most important desegregation case the U.S. Supreme Court settled. It has something to do with New Kent School and the nearby George W. Watkins School.

At the meeting on March 19, Hathaway supported the plan for the Wahrani community center.
“Yes, we do need a community center in the eastern part, but we also need a place to vote in the eastern part.” We do not have one. The space we’re using is currently for rent. We won’t have a place to go when that’s rented out…

He said, “I haven’t been able to find a good alternative location in that precinct right now.”

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