Architects Provide Pocahontas Board of Ed Cost Estimates of Consolidating Schools

At the Monday, 9-28 Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting, Blair Friar of OOWPR Architects and Engineers presented their estimates for closing Marlinton Elementary School and converting Marlinton Middle School into a K-6 elementary School. The estimated cost would be 8 1/3 million dollars if Hillsboro Elementary remains open. If Hillsboro is closed, the cost would be almost 9 ½ million dollars since two additional classrooms would need to be to be added.

These estimates include adding classrooms, cafeteria and kitchen additions, upgrading the science lab and HVAC replacement-adding A/C, electric service and sprinkler system upgrades, and other utility and infrastructure upgrades or additions. It does not include the costs for upgrades to the High School to accommodate 7th and 8th grade students from Marlinton Middle and Green Bank School.

The Architects also estimated the cost of needed renovations to the Green Bank school at about 7 ¼ million dollars. These include replacing the roofs, sewer piping, HVAC – adding A/C and replacing existing furnaces- upgrading the sprinkler system and other utility upgrades or additions.

The Board of Education will decide what proposals to send to the School Building Authority (SBA) at a future Board Meeting.

Emily Booth, the new Pocahontas High School Representative to the Board of Education gave her first report to the Board.

“The football team played Richwood on Saturday and they won 56 to zero” said Emily. “This Friday they play Bath County at Bath County. The band competed in two competitions this weekend; one in Hurricane where they placed 3 out of 6 and also placed second in Color Guard; and at Poca where they placed second in Drum Major which is Savannah Davis. Girls’ soccer beat Midland Trail on Saturday 2 to 1 and Boys Soccer beat Midland Trail 4 to zero on Saturday.

Emily continued her report.

“Golf competed in Regional’s today at Canaan” said Emily. “And they also qualified for States, which will be held in Wheeling on October 5th, 6th and 7th. OEPA came to PCHS on Tuesday the 22nd to observe classes and they also did an overall audit of the school. The results will be back in around 2 weeks. All Senior Nights went smoothly with all fall sports. And a few side notes from the High School; report cards will be sent out on October 22nd and the ACT will be given on October 24th at the High School. That’s all!”

Superintendent Beam commended both the players and the coach of the High School football team for showing good sportsmanship at the Richwood game for not trying to run up the score and for showing respect for the other team’s injured player by kneeling.

P. Erwin Berry, Vocational Teacher at the High School reported to the Board that he has struck a deal with Allegheny Meats where they will provide his vocational students with meats for them to learn how to process. Allegheny Meats also offered to provide future employment to students so trained in meat processing. This does mean that the High School’s Meat Lab will need to be USDA Inspected and certified. Berry has obtained $30,000 in grants for the Meat Lab to pay for this.

The Board approved the Pocahontas Schools’ FY2015 financial Statement which School Treasurer, sherry Radcliff summarizes as “We’re stable but don’t have a lot of money to spend”. It appears that there may be about $76,000 available for emergency spending.

It was noted that a recent State audit showed that the state had short changed the Pocahontas County Schools by about $1,100 a student for a number of years, which totals over a million dollars. Superintendent Beam just received some bad news about this.

“The audit was brought up at the Superintendents’ Conference” said Beam. “There are no immediate plans to reimburse the counties that were shorted by the West Virginia Department of Education. That’s something that the Legislature will have to take up.”

The Board approved various routine vender payments and awarded Faculty Senate allocations to each school.
They approved the following Personnel actions.

Thomas Booth was approved as a mentor for Amanda Nottingham at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School for the current school year at a $1000.00 supplement.

Silas Sattler resigned as a school bus driver effective October 22nd

Beth Wilfong was hired as a substitute Aide effective September 30th for the rest of the school year at state basic pay.

The next Board meeting will be held jointly with the Local School Improvement Council and Faculty Senate on Monday October 5th at 1 p.m. at Hillsboro elementary School.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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