One Room University Project Hits A Small Snag

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Coordinator Jay Miller proposes to have a demonstration project for the One Room University by the fall of 2011. But there are many details to work out before the first computer can be installed including who will take the lead on the project.

Miller had thought that New River Community and Technical College would assume that role. But as he told the Pocahontas County Commission Tuesday, he recently learned that New River would prefer that the Commission head up the project, due to interest from other state schools such as Mountain State, Concord, Bluefield State and possibly WVU-Parkersburg.

Miller says Bill Loope, New River Director of Workforce Education, wants to make sure the ORU offers the same opportunities to all schools.

“Bill felt that while they [New River CTC] will provide the technical support, that it would be less than well received necessarily if they were the lead for dealing with these other four year schools” says Miller. “It would be a classroom receiving venue for people that all schools that offer classes should be on an equal footing.”

The project as planned would be housed on the upper floor of City National Bank in Marlinton. Bank Vice President Brett Withers sounded optimistic that the project will get approval from the City Nationals’ headquarters office near Charleston.

“The space is there, it’s wired, it’s got computer hook ups, all that stuffs’ there” says Withers. “The only thing they may have to look into is how it will affect our insurance.”

Miller says he and bank officials will meet soon to further discuss use of the bank space. What this project means in terms of the Commissions’ time and money is yet to be determined.

In other business, Joe Gonzalez of the West Virginia State Trauma and Emergency Medical System gave an update on the Sharps Knob tower. After applying last summer the state was granted 126 million dollars, in part to upgrade broadband coverage throughout the state. Gonzalez says the state ems gets a nice slice of that pie.

“Our portion of it was 33 million dollars” says Gonzalez. “6.6 million for towers and that was 12 new tower sites; and 23 million to do an overbuild of our existing microwave system so that we end up with a broadband capability.”

Gonzalez says the National Guard, US Marshal Service, FBI, all West Virginia state agencies and many counties also have access to the existing system via the state Inter-operative Radio Project or IRP. However, he says the IRP is not in use in Pocahontas County because of the topography and the interference it would cause at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Gonzalez says due to a change in the path of the microwave signal, they’ll be able to build a 190 foot tower rather than the 240 foot tower originally proposed. This may be below the lighting requirement of the FAA. The tower will replace the existing 180 foot tower installed by Allegheny Power. He says there are still many items on the to-do list to check off before they can begin construction of the new tower, possibly in the spring of 2011.

Pocahontas County Superintendent of Schools CC Lester spoke to the Commissioners about placing a Prevention Resource Officer at the county high school. Duties of a PRO officer include steering kids away from criminal behavior and facilitating prevention type classes. Lester believes the county may be able to fund such a position through grants.

Commissioner Reta Griffith says the county tried this once before, but it was ultimately rejected because of the uncertain nature of grant funding.

Robert Perry of the West Virginia Floodplain Management Program went over in great detail the required revisions to the current county floodplain ordinance. According to Perry this ordinance must have at least two public readings before it can be approved by the County Commission.

The Commission also accepted the resignation of Sheriffs’ Deputy Cody Rexrode. Sheriff David Jonese says he’s contacted the county Civil Service Board for recommendations of qualified candidates to fill the position.

The next meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission is Tuesday, Sept 21st.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather