The Nelson County Public School division got the go-ahead last week to purchase new vehicles, but was hindered in its attempt to start making headway on other capital improvement projects.

On July 9, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the transfer of funds for the purchase of two school buses, costing $176,880, and two school vans, costing $46,807.34, but didn’t vote on transferring funds for the high school athletic track resurfacing, costing $200,825.

“I would like to see improvements on buildings before improving something for athletics,” Larry Saunders, chair and South District representative, said.

Tommy Harvey, vice chair and North District representative, voiced his agreement.

“I can’t see doing the track right now when we just finished doing $200,000 for the tennis courts. This needs to be planned out a little bit better and spread out more,” Harvey said before the vote.

As part of the fiscal 2019-2020 budget, the board of supervisors approved almost $860,000 for capital improvement projects in the school division. Resurfacing the athletic track at Nelson County High School, fixing the gym roof at Tye River Elementary School, conducting a facility study at the middle and high school, and purchasing two buses and two vans were at the top of the school board’s capital improvement priority list.

A letter from Division Superintendent Martha Eagle on June 17 to County Administrator Steve Carter requesting the transfer of funds for the track and the transportation stated bids were being solicited for the future gym roof repair and the facility study.

The facility study at the high school and middle school is being done in hopes of finding a good location for a welding facility; solving the problem of moisture accumulation behind the brick of the Career and Technical Education wing; and for water settling under the pavement causing degradation to the roadway in front of the school.

“When those prices are known, we will forward that information to you for authorization from the Board of Supervisors to proceed,” Eagle’s letter said.

Carter said he could go back and ask the school board if they could resurface the track at a better price, but Harvey said he believes it can wait. Eagle’s letter said ideally the school board hoped the track would be done before the first football game on Aug. 29.

“I just think the track can wait. I don’t see it as a high priority with all the other things we are trying to do,” Harvey said.

In other news:

Steve Carter, county administrator, told the board its initiative to name the bridge north of Shady’s Place in Woods Mill over the Rockfish River for the late Edward Lynn “Eddie” Embrey is moving forward. Carter said the transportation board will consider the resolution this month. A decision should be made by late July or early August.

The board voted unanimously to give the Rockfish Volunteer Fire Department $7,500 to improve the overlook off U.S. 250 that looks over the Rockfish Valley in Nelson County. Tommy Harvey has been at the forefront of making sure the overlook gets the upkeep and enhancements that will continue to attract the public. Harvey is hoping with the help of the fire department, trees can be maintained, the rock wall revamped, and picnic tables can be put in the area.

“I think it’s money well spent,” Saunders said.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or

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