Pocahontas BOE Passes Resolution for a Guaranteed Energy Savings Project

At their November 17th meeting at Marlinton Middle School, the Pocahontas County BOE approved a resolution to move forward with the Wendle Corporation’s guaranteed energy savings project. Andy Cocina of Wendle explained earlier in the meeting just what this project is, how it works and how the project will also provide the BOE with local match funds to assist in obtaining School Building Authority (SBA) approval for needs projects without the usual necessity of passing a school levy first.

According to Cocina, the BOE would borrow funds to finance energy savings improvements in the schools. These would include replacing all the interior and exterior lighting at all five schools with energy efficient LED lights; replace HVAC controls at the schools; and improve each school’s insulation envelopes. Engineers from Wendle have already conducted an energy audit of the school facilities and estimates that once those improvements are completed, the board will conservatively save enough in utility bills to repay the financing in fifteen years. He said these energy saving projects will pay for themselves by reducing utility bills and additionally enable the BOE to be credited with 1.8 million dollars in local match funds, which the SBA says can be used in their application for SBA Needs Grants. The BOE will not need to pass a school levy to raise a local match to get approved for a SBA Needs Grant if it instead uses the Wendle program as its local match.

Ron Hall added that by doing this, the BOE will be able to apply to the SBA for a Major Improvement Project this Spring to replace the roof and fire sprinkler system at Marlinton Elementary School, and also apply for a large Needs Grant later in the year to replace the HVAC system, electrical system and doors at PCHS. He said in addition, once the initial financing of the energy improvements is paid off in fifteen years by using utility bill savings, all future energy savings will go into the BOE’s budget. Hall will send a proposed contract to the BOE’s law firm for review and approval.

This Christine Campbell of the Marlinton Middle School’s Local School Improvement Council talked to the board. She said that the majority of students at the school are now attending four days a week, with only about 15 students remaining in the virtual school, down from 40 at the beginning of the school year. She expressed concerns about the safety of the ventilation system in the school because of the virus, however Ron Hall assured her the filters are the best quality available, are CDC approved, and are changed every three months in all the schools. Campbell also said that there is a safety issue because the intercom system is not working in the schools. Ruth Bland said a new intercom system has been approved by the COPS Grant, but the Federal Government is slow to deliver the funds for that. She also said the new phone system can be used as an intercom system in the meantime.

During a meeting with the school staff, the board herd the following concerns:

  • A lack of preparedness for an emergency evacuation at the school
  • Lack of a law enforcement presence at the school
  • Wondering why WIFI is turned off in the school. To which Ruth Bland explained the WIFI is active at the school, but the BOE has decided to not allow teacher’s personal devices to link with it at any of the schools.
  • Want more parent involvement.

In other matters, the board:

  • Was informed by Superintendent Beam that the December first meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Board Office rather then at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School since schools will be closed that day. The meeting at Green Bank will be rescheduled.
  • Approved restrictions on the upcoming basketball season, which will now not start until at least January eleventh. Those restrictions can be found on our website with this story.
  • Amended the Re-Entry plan to simplify the remote plan for food service. Instead of delivering food on buses, there will be food pick-up at three schools.
  • Placed a revised Personal Acceptable Use Form on thirty-day comment.
  • Approved personnel service and professional actions, also found with this story on our website


Personnel Actions

  • Resignation of Sondra L Fowler as both Custodian IV at Hillsboro Elementary School and as Evening Custodian III, extracurricular, at Hillsboro Elementary School due to retirement, effective December 31, 2020
  • Requested transfer of Amber R. Arbogast at Marlinton Elementary School from being an Itinerant Special Education Classroom/Bus Aide to being a Classroom Aide/Bus Aide also at Marlinton Elementary School, effective November 19th.
  • Abolishment of the Itinerant Special Education Classroom/Bus Aide position at Marlinton Elementary School.
  • Requested transfer of Devan E, Simmons as Teacher of Multi-Subjects (5th grade) at Marlinton Elementary School to Librarian/Media Specialist at PCHS, Effective November 30.
  • Resignation of Jenny R. Friel as Volunteer Head Cheer Coach (Basketball) at Marlinton Middle School, retroactive to November 2nd.
  • Resignation of Pippi L. Miller as Substitute Custodian retroactive to November 6th.


Restrictions on Basketball

(Season Starting No Sooner then January 11th)

Should school bus transportation be available during away games, it will be utilized at 20% capacity. The availability to purchase two tickets per athlete per game for both home and visiting teams is permissible. The media will be restricted to two individuals per team per game. Temperature checks will be monitored with athletes and all spectators. Social distancing and mask/shield regulations will be followed as provided in the re-entry guidelines. Operating concession stands is at the discretion of the school, but must be in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Pocahontas County Health Department.

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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