Pocahontas County Free Libraries seek change in lease with Pocahontas BOE for the Hillsboro library

Back in May of 2014, Pocahontas County Free Libraries president Sue Ann Heatherly spoke to the Pocahontas county Board of Education [BOE] about changes they’d like to see in the lease for the Hillsboro library. The library has received a large sum of money, primarily from a bequest and a donation, and would like to use that money to add an addition to the library. At the time, board president Emery Grimes said he didn’t see a problem with the proposal.

Heatherly was back at the board meeting on January 26th to bring the topic up once again. Acknowledging that it was presented to a different set of board members last May, she went over once again the changes that the PCFL is asking for. She said the Friends of the Pocahontas County Free Libraries group, a non-profit subsidiary of the PCFL, is eager to get started on the addition for the Hillsboro library.

Heatherly said both the PCFL and the Friends group are concerned about the lease agreement between the library and the BOE, wondering what would happen to the library in the event that the BOE no longer operated the Hillsboro elementary school adjacent to the library. She said they would like to replace a clause in the current lease that in the event that the BOE would ever cease to operate the school, the BOE would offer to sell it to the Friends group for a small nominal fee. They would also like to amend the current lease from a 10 year to a 15 year lease.

Board president Emery Grimes said he would like to have more detailed information about the addition as the BOE currently pays for the electricity and heating the library. He said with no forest money forthcoming this year, the budget is likely to be much tighter in the future. Heatherly said the lease specifically states that if new additions are added, the library assumes the cost that exceeds 10 percent over what the board currently pays, excluding service increases.

Laurie Cameron of the Friends group said the addition would be approximately 500 square feet extending towards the elementary school playground and would include a porch with a roof. He said part of the building process would also include adding insulation to improve heating and cooling efficiency.

Grimes said by law the BOE is only allowed to extend an addition out so far, and was unsure what that number might be. He asked that the exact square footage be added to the proposal and recommended that the board refer this proposal to attorney Eugene Simmons for a legal opinion.

The PCFL has around $120,000.00 to use for the addition. They are on a very tight schedule and hope to get the addition built this summer. According to a handout from Heatherly, these are the steps that must be done to make this happen.

•Reconstitute and reactivate the Friends Building committee and get a resolution to proceed
•Meet with the architect and construction consultant to develop a rough cost estimate based on existing preliminary plan and drawings
•Revise the preliminary plan based on the cost estimate and produce a more detailed plan
•Submit a detailed plan to Pocahontas County Friends of the Library group and the Board of Education for approval
•Make necessary revisions and produce the final plan and drawings
•Draft a bid for a Requirement for Proposal (RFP) and advertise it
•Review bid proposals and eliminate non-responsive bids and ineligible bidders
•Submit tentatively awarded contract to the PCFL for legal advice and approval
•Coordinate construction and library schedules and operations

In other business, Rebecca Spencer, who co-coaches the Pocahontas County archery team, said since all of their fundraising money is funneled through a BOE account sometimes the team’s tournament fees are not being paid in time, due to required prior board approval. This has resulted in the team being denied entry into a tournament. She asked the board to allow school treasurer Sherry Radcliff to pay the teams bills without prior board approval. The board agreed to do so.

In his report school Superintendent Dr. Bechtel gave the board members a list of state legislators and a sample letter and urged them to contact legislators regarding the loss of forest money for Pocahontas county schools. He said the county had projected to receive $150,000.00, but that money will not be available.

The board also approved the following:

• For Christina M. Smith to travel to New Orleans to attend a Success for All Experience Conference from February 8th through the 11th. All expenses will be paid by a Old Dominion Grant through the University of Virginia.
• Approval of a Hillsboro elementary trip to Hershey Park and Gettysburg Pennsylvania for the third, fourth and fifth grade classes departing on May 21st and returning on May 22nd. The trip will be paid for through fundraising.
• Approval of Brian M. Smith as a volunteer basketball coach at Marlinton elementary school
• Approval of Davina and Mark Agee as volunteer basketball coaches at Marlinton elementary school

Personnel Agenda:

Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and Marlinton Middle School:

• Creation of one position at each school – Teacher of alternative education for the 2015-16 school year at state basic pay based on degree and experience for a term of 200 days

Pocahontas County High school:

• Resignation of Susan Chappell, due to retirement , as Librarian/Media Specialist effective the end of the 2014-15 school year
• Change in resignation date, due to retirement, for Mali S. Minter as Teacher of Spanish, retroactive from January 9th through the end of the 2014-15 school year
• Unpaid medical leave of absence for Mali S. Minter, effective January 16th through the end of the school year

Pocahontas County Schools:

• Resignation, due to retirement, of Charlotte Burgess as school bus operator, effective March 24th, 2015
• Creation of an extra duty position for general maintenance, as needed, for the remainder of the 2014-15 school year – shift is 4pm to 7pm

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