Amherst County Public Schools is reaching out to local businesses and industries to help create a new multi-use facility adjacent to Amherst County High School’s baseball field.

The planned 9,990-square-foot building would house concessions, restrooms for the general public, locker rooms for baseball, softball and wrestling teams and a wrestling room, according to Assistant Superintendent William Wells. Outdoor batting cages also are targeted for the new facility, he said.

Visitors to ball games currently have to walk to the high school’s restrooms or use a portable toilet. Wells said the division’s goal is for area businesses to help offset the majority of costs and provide key services in the construction.

A program is planned to have participating retail businesses generate donations, Wells said.

“We’re trying to make it a public-private partnership here,” Wells said. “It’s been discussed the past 20-something years. Money hasn’t been there so we’re trying to go about it this way with partnerships to see if we can do it right. It’s been needed for years and it’s something we feel is important and we’re working to bring it to fruition.”

The goal is to have a building purchased and standing by next spring and have it completed and ready for use by spring 2021, he said. in addition to benefiting the baseball and softball programs, he said it would give the wrestling program locker rooms, which it currently lacks.

Wells said at this point the project is not ready to go before the Amherst County School Board for any kind of funding consideration.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this,” Wells said of seeking a large-scale response from local businesses. “We want to make sure people are aware of it, because it’s new to us.”

Anyone willing to support the project can contact the school administration office and Wells at 153 Washington St., he said.

Meanwhile, the division is seeking bids for an improvement to the front of the high school. As part of an effort to install security vestibules in all county schools, officials are planning a porch to extend from the current front entrance area to the main office. The work would include modifying the main office so visitors go through there before gaining access to the entire school.

Wells said the current entrance would be used but when doors are locked and the school day is underway the only way for visitors is through the main office.

“It’s a safety issue for the schools,” Wells said of the added layer of security. “It requires any visitor to report to the main office before they go through the rest of the school.”

Vestibules should be completed at the majority of the schools by early August, Wells said.

Due to their layout, Monelison Middle School and Madison Heights Elementary School are expected to take longer but officials hope the vestibule work in each will be completed by the end of the year, according to Wells.

The sale of the former Pleasant View Elementary School building last fall paid for the majority of the division-wide project, he said. The part involving the high school is the most intensive work and is expected to take the longest time to finish.

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Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

Contact Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551 or jfaulconer@newsadvance.com.

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