Supervisors approve nearly $10 million Falling Branch expansion


File Photo by Anaika Miller
An expansion project at Falling Branch Elementary School will add 17 classrooms, and a larger library and cafeteria. There will also be renovations to help make the school more secure.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors allocated $9,857,087 to the school system for the expansion of Falling Branch Elementary in Christiansburg.

The 7-0 approval was mostly a formality as the supervisors and school board had discussed the project at length over the last year, with both sides seemingly on the same page.

The school system requested nearly $500,000 less than was originally estimated it would cost to complete the renovation.

“I love things coming in under budget,” Chair Chris Tuck said.

Avis Construction received the winning bid, and should be starting construction within the next three weeks according to school officials.

According to county documents, $8.5 million of the funds will go towards construction with the remaining funds going towards inspections and new equipment.

Among other additions and renovations, the project will add 17 new classrooms, and increase the size of both the library and cafeteria.

The project will add about 28,500 square feet to the school’s existing size of 57,000 square feet. Falling Branch currently uses nine mobile units and the extra space will help solve concerns over both student population growth and security.

The first set of classrooms are scheduled to be ready when students come back from Christmas break next year, with another section opening next spring and the project being complete in the summer of 2018.

According to the county, money for the renovation came from the county’s school capital projects fund, which is made up of a portion of real estate taxes ($6.456 million), prior year transfer from the general fund ($3 million) and the sale of surplus properties ($401,087).

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