Pocahontas Community Center Redesigned To Reduce Construction Costs

Marlinton, WV – A two million dollar plus community and wellness center planned for Pocahontas County hit a roadblock earlier this year when construction bids came back considerably higher than expected. That led the Chapman Technical Group, the firm designing the center to be built next to Marlinton Elementary School, to go back to the drawing board, as Roger Trusler explained to the Pocahontas County Board of Education Monday night.

“Since that time we’ve been working on getting the site plan reworked,” says Trusler. “Hopefully whenever we go to bid in January we’ll have more bidders; I think we had five last time.”

Dale Withrow of the Chapman Technical Group gives the Board more detail on the redesign.

“What we have done in Chapman Technical Group at no additional charge to anybody here, we are redesigning the building; what’s commonly referred to as value engineering’,” says Withrow. “We’re basically going back and relooking at things, trying to analyze where we maybe went wrong, what we put in too much of and maybe what we need to change. We are making those changes at this time.”

And they’re getting some help from a surprising source.

“Fortunately the low bidder was very forthcoming with information and we were able to work with them to glean where we think issues are in the project,” says Withrow.

Unfortunately many of the problems lie with the site itself, and Withrow says they will have to do a bit more work on the foundation in order to meet current codes. And he says there’s another factor to take into account.

“Frankly there is a Pocahontas’ factor that goes with this,” he says. “You folks have some of the highest prevailing wages in the state, so we have to account for that too. The good news is we are in the process of reworking the plan; I have been able so far to eliminate 2500 square feet without adversely affecting the program.”

He says while the building will be slightly smaller, they will still be able to provide all the services originally intended for the center. They will also change from building blocks to metal framing construction in order to save on the cost. Withrow says he’s confident that it will blend in well with the existing school buildings.

In other business, school maintenance supervisor Darrin McKenney gave the Board an update on the many projects that have been keeping him and his assistant Brad Landis very busy. McKenney says some of those projects could possibly be handled by school staff. School Superintendent CC Lester says he will sit down with McKenney and look at which project or tasks can be handled by school personnel.

The Board also had a lengthy discussion with Pocahontas Sheriff David Jonese about bullying and a law enforcement presence in the schools. He says his deputies have been at the high school on several occasions, at the request of the school Principal. A program on cyber-bullying will be presented at the high school on Wednesday, December 14th at noon.

Jonese told the Board he’d like to have a Prevention Resource Officer [PRO] in the schools, but has been unable to convince the County Commission to support such a position. Although initially funded by a US Dept of Justice grant, with each consecutive year, grant funding decreases, leaving the county to pick up more of the cost. Several board members urged the Sheriff and Lester to ask the Commission to reconsider the program.

Jonese says he’s also interested in teaching some basic self defense classes in the evening at the schools. The Board gave their blessing for this endeavor asking him to coordinate with the individual schools.

The Board approved contracts with Joanne Persinger for math services and with Allen Bell to assist Principals. They also approved David Dilley as a volunteer basketball coach at Marlinton Middle school.

Personnel Agenda:

Marlinton Middle:

Employment of Samantha McClure as assistant girls basketball coach

Employment of David Callison as assistant boys basketball coach
Pocahontas County HS:

Employment of Joshua Ashby as teacher of health/physical education for the remainder of the school year


Resignation of Eileen Irvine, due to retirement, as Lead Executive Secretary/Accountant and Assistant to Director of Finance effective December 31, 2011

Abolishment of position of Lead Executive Secretary/Accountant and Assistant to Director of Finance for county schools

Creation of position of Executive Secretary/Accountant for county schools

National Certification for Jennifer Chestnut, supplement for national certification for speech-language pathologist, retroactive to the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

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.

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