Pittsylvania County has a significant amount of capital expenses looming over the next decade. From renovations of existing buildings to completely new facilities that need to be designed and constructed, these are projects that simply can't be avoided.
Here is a summary of the capital expenses, which have an estimated total of about $130 million.
- A New Jail: Estimated Cost: $18-$20 million Timeline: 2026
- School Renovations: $46 million. Timeline: 2026
- A New Courthouse: Estimated Cost: $49 million. Timeline: 2031
- New County Offices and Buildings: Estimated Cost: $14 million. Timeline: 2031
“We’re going to have to be creative in finding revenue to cover the financing of these cost that we cannot avoid,” said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We have been active in diversifying our revenue stream so that we do not overburden our landowners and property owners.”
Pittsylvania County's jail is outdated and overcrowded. First constructed in 1980, the Pittsylvania County jail has been over capacity since the day that it opened. Oftentimes the facility, which is rated by the Virginia Department of Corrections to house 36 inmates, has more than 100 at a time. In addition to simply having too many inmates, the age of the facility means that there are always mechanical problems.
Pittsylvania County has also partnered with the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority to house inmates as well. On an average day, Pittsylvania County houses between 70 and 90 inmates at Blue Ridge. Pittsylvania County leaders are actively looking for property to develop a new jail. A wide range of plans are being considered for the size and setup of the new jail, but the idea is to build a jail that will house some inmates while still sending others to the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority. The goal is to have a new jail completed by 2026 at the latest.
The estimated cost for the jail is between approximately $18 and $20 million. Pittsylvania County recently completed a Community Based Corrections Plan - a study that the Virginia Department of Corrections requires before providing 25% of construction funding.
Courthouse and Other Facilities
Pittsylvania County's current courthouse, which was built in the 1800s, houses the court system and all associated offices - such as the Commonwealth's Attorney, Magistrate, and the Clerk of Court - as well as offices like the Treasurer, the Commissioner of the Revenue, and the Jail. Technological limitations of the current facility are a major reason that Pittsylvania County's Chief Circuit Court Judge Stacey Moreau has advised that a new courthouse will be needed in the future. This project that likely won't be completed until at least 2030.
The long-term plan is to reshuffle the physical locations of many county offices and departments: a new courthouse will be developed where the current school board office is, while many other departments will move into what is currently the courthouse, which would undergo major renovations to house everyone from Community Development to the 911 Center to County Administration, as well as the Commissioner of the Revenue and Treasurer.
It is estimated that a new courthouse would cost approximately $49 million, and the renovation of the current courthouse building to house the remainder of Pittsylvania County government would cost another $14 million.
Pittsylvania County Schools have significant capital needs in the coming years. Pittsylvania County constructed new middle schools in 2001 and renovated the four high schools in 2007. There are significant maintenance needs at the now 20-year-old middle schools and each of the county's 10 elementary schools, which are 21 years old at the newest. Many are significantly older than that, and thus have serious maintenance needs. Some of the primary upcoming costs include:
- Replacing roofs
- Replacing HVAC units
At the request of the Pittsylvania County School Board, there is a referendum on the November ballot regarding a 1% sales tax increase where all profits would go toward school capital costs. If approved, this would generate approximately $2.6 million in annual revenue that would be used to cover the debt financing needed for these projects.