Community forum held for McHarg renovation project

About 30 community members participate in the recent forum on McHarg renovation, held in the happy, brightly colored gym-a-cafe-torium, which serves several purposes at the school. The preliminary plan for the new school separates the gymnasium and cafeteria.

Heather Bell

RADFORD – Anyone who has been in Radford for at least the past 20 years knows the renovation or replacement of McHarg Elementary School has long been the subject of discussion.

Now, with Radford City Council paving the way with the allowance of more than $800,000 for the planning and design phase of the school project, work on the 1950-built school is closer to reality than it has ever been.

Thompson and Litton, the architectural firm chosen to complete the design phase, recently held a community meeting at McHarg to get public input about the project. Led by Jack Murphy, the project executive, the meeting brought out about 30 members of the Radford community. Murphy and his team posed several questions to the group, and, after giving an overview of the project, allowed attendees to circle the room and write their priorities, dreams and concerns on a series of poster boards around the room.

Our goal,” said Murphy, “is creating a 21st century school environment that is student centered, project oriented and technology integrated.”

Thompson and Litton Senior Project Manager Dan Berenato talks with community members at the recent forum regarding the renovation of McHarg Elementary School.

The plan is to combine a renovation with the existing space with construction of two new wings at the school. Murphy said the very preliminary project budget stands right now at about $15,710,000. Preliminary plans include the following specifications:

Four Pre-K Classrooms

Six Kindergarten Classrooms

Six First Grade Classrooms

Six Second Grade Classrooms

Six Third Grade Classrooms

Four Resource and Reading Rooms (one for

each grade wing)

Two Special Education Resource Rooms

One “STEAM” Room

Updated Restrooms

New Gymnasium (high school size court)

seating 200-300 spectators

Media Center with computer lab

Teacher Workrooms (one for each grade


Staff Toilet Rooms (two for each grade wing)

New Secured Front Vestibule

Storage, Custodial and IT rooms including

Computers on Wheels storage rooms

New Kitchen with direct access to the


Larger Administrative Offices located at the

front vestibule and throughout the school

Nurse’s Clinic

Cafeteria/Auditorium (existing) with updated


Music Room

Art Room

Fenced Outdoor Play Areas

1 “Outdoor Classroom”

New Parent Drop-off/Pick-up Area with

separate access and stacking lane

Air Conditioning in all spaces

Murphy said the project will be completed in stages, to allow the least disruption to students as possible. For instance, Murphy said the hope is to complete one or both new wings first to allow for “swing space,” basically moving students into the new spaces giving time to renovation one of the existing spaces. A lot of work will also be done over summer breaks, he said.The existing building is 49,200 square feet and preliminary plans would add approximately 26,000 square feet, making the finished project about 75,000 square feet. Murphy said Thompson and Litton plans to hold more community input meetings as the process unfolds.