Ridgeview High School & Career Technical Center and Ridgeview Middle School Open August 2015

In a community which resisted the idea of school consolidation, cooperation & compromise prevailed, as a combined Ridgeview High School & Career Technical Center and Ridgeview Middle School in rural Dickenson County, Virginia welcomed visitors for public tours and ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 7, 2015.  The hardwork and expertise of a team of hundreds, consisting of county officials, designers, regulators, contractors, and subcontractors led to state of the art facilities for students to use for years to come.

The combined facilities, which spent years in the planning stage, took more than 2 years to build and cost approximately $70 million to construct.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) played a crucial role in seeing the project come to fruition under the Section 202 Nonstructural Flood Risk Management Program.  A significant portion of interim financing, $42,150,000, was provided by USDA Rural Development (RD) and is the largest investment ever made in the Commonwealth of Virginia by RD.

The impressive 106-acre site sits in a central location high atop Rose Ridge in Dickenson County, Virginia, and will receive students from former Clintwood, Ervinton, and Haysi High Schools.  The combined school building features amenities for the musical & theatrical arts, culinary arts, nursing, computer-aided drafting, cosmetology, and more in addition to traditional classrooms, science labs, gymnasium, and media center, to name a few.  The site, which resembles a college campus more than a secondary education facility, also features an AstroTurf football game field, latex-bound running track, grandstands, tennis courts, baseball field, football practice fields, and several other secondary buildings.

The architectural design was awarded by Dickenson County to Perkins & Will, who contracted the civil site design to Thompson & Litton.  In his ribbon-cutting ceremony speech, Associate Principal of Perkins & Will, John Poelker, commented that his firm had designed over 2,500 schools in the last 70 years, but that the combined Ridgeview School “blows them all away”, professing it as a “labor of love” for his architectural team.  Branch & Associates, the construction firm awarded the project, also had significant expertise in school construction, responsible for more than 200 K-12 and higher education facilities.

More than a dozen speakers commemorated the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Dickenson CountyPublic Schools, Board of Supervisors, and Industrial Development Authority representatives, Perkins & Will and Branch & Associates (as mentioned previously), USDA-RD, USACE, representatives for Senators Mark Warner & Tim Kaine, Congressman Morgan Griffith, and more.  The presentations were filled with excitement and praise for the school and the community, with keywords such as pride, courage, unification, investment in the community, and “the power of one” inundated throughout.

Special recognition was given to Haydee Robinson, Division Superintendent of Dickenson County Public Schools, who in the words of one speaker, “never lost sight of the dream” in making the facility a reality.  The combined school opened to students, now forever known as the Ridgeview Wolfpack and as one united voice, on August 10, 2015.

In an effort to make travel to the location safer, improvements to State Route 637, designed by Thompson & Litton, are underway, as well.

For pictures of the facilities, visit https://ridgeviewhsmsaugust72015.shutterfly.com/.