BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Bristol Virginia Public School students head back to class on Wednesday, August 16. This will be the last school year before three of their elementary schools will close and consolidate.

Highland View, Stonewall Jackson and Washington-Lee Elementary schools will consolidate in the fall of 2024. That is when the new Bristol Virginia Intermediate School will open.

The new school is under construction and is located adjacent to Van Pelt Elementary School. The intermediate school will serve 2nd through 5th graders and the Van Pelt Elementary School building will serve the primary grades pre-K through 1st grades.

This is David Scott’s first school year being the superintendent of Bristol Virginia Public Schools. He said the school system is excited to celebrate the history of the retiring elementary schools. However, they’re still excited about the new intermediate school as well.

“With the new school, there’s a lot of excitement about choosing the colors and the furniture and all the different bells and whistles that we can provide for students when we do open up the new school,” Scott said.

Virginia Middle School held an open house on Monday, where students got familiar with their classes before school starts. Their new principal, Amanda Chitwood, transferred from Highland View Elementary.

“The majority of my career has been in high school, and I have served for one year as an assistant principal at a middle school in Washington County,” Chitwood said. “So, I am somewhat familiar with the grade level. But, Highland View is a special place and a wonderful school and I’m certainly going to miss all those folks.”

Chitwood said this year they’re hoping to return to a pre-COVID school environment.

“They’ll be able to eat breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria with their friends,” Chitwood said. “And we’re hopeful that will help ease any apprehension with starting back with school because they get to start the day in a more social environment so that when class time is ready to begin, students are ready to learn.”

Virginia High School and Van Pelt Elementary School also have health clinics that any student, faculty and staff in the district can access.

For this school year, Scott said a few positions are still open.

“We have permission between our last board meeting in the upcoming board meeting to make those hires as soon as possible,” Scott said.

He also said that school resource officers will be in every building and that students practice crisis drills periodically throughout the school year.