Pocahontas school Superintendent’s Report Part 1 –New Board Office?
On Thursday, June 8th, Pocahontas School Superintendent Terrence Beam sat down with Allegheny Mountain Radio for his monthly report to our listeners. In this first part, Beam says the Board of Education is seriously considering closing the current Board Office and relocating the Offices to another building. He explains how this can be done without cost to the Board of Education or to the County..
“I’d like to talk about the possible relocation of our Board Office” said Beam. “The first thing I want to say –because it will be the thing that resonates with everyone, is that not one red cent of County money will be used in the relocation of this Board Office if, and when that occurs. Over the last several years, we have had water damage in different amounts in different times which we’ve been given insurance money to repair. This building is way too far gone to sink a lot of money into keeping repairing it, so that money has been put away so that in the event we found a location we could move our Board Office to, we could use our flood money to do that with. And that’s where this would come from, so I don’t want the public in any way to think that we’re laying off people and talking about closing schools, but we are going to have a new Board office.”
Mr. Beam was quick to point out that this flood insurance money was received because of past flood damage to the Board Office and cannot legally be used to pay for anything else other then replacing or repairing the Board Office. He explains why relocating the Board Offices to another building makes so much sense.
“I think the Board Office is the symbol of your school system” Beam said. “When you go to a county to visit, you want to know where the Board Office is, and you hope that it is at least presentable. This building here, to be really frank, is not. We’ve hosted two, three or four meetings over the last couple of years, with different groups coming in, and we have intentionally avoided having it here. We’ve had one at the Wellness Center, we’ve had one at the Hillsboro Cafeteria, I think we had a meeting in the Hillsboro Gymnasium. We avoid bringing people in this building if we can. We are not expecting to buy or build the Taj Mahal, but we are going to find something that, first of all, is something that’s more accessible to people, because we have a lot of steps here. We want something that’s maybe one story, handicapped accessible, within our price range, and still close to the location we are in now. We’ve been looking – when Dr. Bechtel was Superintendent, we looked at some properties, but we never did find anything that really fit the bill. At that time we hadn’t had the June flood that brought us in more flood money, so we even had less money to work with. We’re going to be looking at possibilities and strongly consider moving out of this building for several reasons. First of all, the flood insurance on this building is extremely high . Between this building and Marlinton Elementary School, we pay in excess of thirty thousand dollars a year in flood insurance. The insurance company has told us that our rate will increase 25% each year from here on out. The heating in this building is extremely high because you have two floors, high ceilings and an old building. If you have a one story building with a newer heating system and you are not going to have to pay the flood insurance if you are out of the flood plain, then your costs to maintain that building are going to be cheaper. We’re thinking the savings itself is going to help the county, and the fact that we are using the flood proceeds to pay for it, doesent cost the County any money. We would relocate our Board meetings also to that new location.
Beam explains where they are at in the search for another location.
“We’ve looked at two properties this week, one we have rules out, and one we are still looking at” said Beam. “not all of our Board Members have seen the building yet. They may be aware of it, but thet have not visited it yet to see how it would work as a Board Office. We’re looking at everything. We are looking at what it would cost to upgrade it because we have to have technology access, we’re checking to see what the insurance would be. Like everything else with property, if you’re truly interested in it and you can afford to do it, you need to not make a rash decision, but you need to move forward with it because there’s other people who may be looking at those same facilities. I will keep you informed as we go through this process.”
Listen for Part 2 of this story, in which Mr. Beam provides an update on the status of the Major Improvement Project submitted to the SBA to replace the sewer system at PCHS.